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 NEW YORK, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- You're one of the lucky ones; you kept your job through the cutbacks. Now your company is reorganizing, and your workspace will change, too. The good news is that you will work more effectively, more productively and more comfortably than ever.
 Today's employers are looking to create innovative, comfortable and safe workplaces to attract and keep valued employees. This new attitude is partly a result of rising space and personnel costs and increasing foreign competition. It also reflects the fact that computers are now being used by people on all levels of the corporate hierarchy.
 One innovation that is becoming prevalent is the concept of the office as a "neighborhood." Variously described as "caves and commons," "hubs and pubs" or the more literal "task/team" spaces, the office neighborhood provides small, private work areas clustered around a range of communicating spaces.
 According to Leonard Kruk, Ph.D., director of workplace lab research at the Knoll Group, a New York-based office furnishings manufacturer, "The private area promotes creativity and concentration, while the central area stimulates communication and team building." He adds, "The workplace neighborhood facilitates the team's efforts, just as a residential community sustains the local inhabitants."
 The academic community has also taken note of changing social dynamics within the workplace. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, in conjunction with the National Science Foundation and a consortium of building industries, is currently building a 6,000 square foot laboratory of office environments to research and develop better workplaces. Vivian Loftness, AIA, an associate professor of architecture at Carnegie Mellon and one of the architects responsible for developing the laboratory, interprets the growth of neighborhoods as "signifying a need for contact with others -- a contact that has been frustrated by the proliferation of technology in the workplace that reduces opportunities for people to interact as they once did."
 The neighborhood concept is not unique to American companies; this type of workplace, sometimes called the "combi-office," is delivering results for corporations in Japan, Germany, Sweden and Finland.
 But does a neighborhood setting necessarily improve productivity? As Ms. Loftness observes, "While we haven't yet satisfactorily defined white collar productivity, we can measure it in how happy we are to come to work and to stay at work."
 -0- 10/21/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Ms. Loftness and Dr. Kruk are available for interviews. Photos also available./
 /CONTACT: Coco Kim of the Knoll Group, 800-223-1354, or 212-207-9709/ CO: Knoll Group ST: New York IN: SU:

AH-PS -- NY037 -- 2821 10/21/92 11:13 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 21, 1992

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