Office Cubicles Are Falling Out of Favor at a Surprising Number of Companies

An emphasis on increasing collaboration among workers is causing some companies to "tear down the walls" in favor of open space and small "collaborative" meeting areas. The Wall Street Journal reported on this trend and how it is affecting companies from office funiture manufacturer Herman Miller to the corporate offices of Campbell Soup in the article, Say Goodbye to the Office Cubicle.

Open Offices Bring Change to Employee Dining

Scaled-down cafés that emphasize healthful snacking and casual, collaborative settings are finding a welcome home in open-office environments. Here's a look at how several major employers treat these kinds of operations.

Experts Discuss Workplace Trends Affecting Productivity

In Fix This Workplace, Bloomberg BusinessWeek writer Joshua Brustein interviewed four experts to explore the impact of trends ranging from remote offices to e-mail overload to eating at one's desk. 

Would Bigger Cafeteria Tables Increase Productivity?

As the unique office cultures of silicon valley companies like Google, Yahoo, Oracle and others have gotten more attention, so have efforts by other business sectors to duplicate the collaborative environments of silicon valley office project teams. In Engineering Serendipity, Greg Lindsay describes where such efforts might go in the future.

As Wellness Program Grow More Sophisticated, New Questions Are Asked About Them

Corporate wellness programs that seek to improve employee health while also controlling insurance and health care costs are increasingly looking to collect more data on employees and their lifestyle habits. As a result, they are also running into pushback from privacy and employee-rights advocates. In Rules Sought for Workplace Wellness Questionnaires, New York Times reporter Natasha Singer describes how the wellness program at Penn State University ended up generating a Congressional request for an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Other questions are being asked as well. A study by the RAND Corporation for the Labor Department suggested that wellness program "lifestyle management" initiatives might not be as effective as thought. Other studies seem to suggest that more targeted, "disease management" programs generate most of the results often attributed to the larger programs. For details, read Study Raises Questions for Employee Health Efforts.

Whether carrots or sticks work better in changing lifestyle behaviors is still something of an open question, as well. A recent survey by Aon Hewitt, an HR consulting firm, of nearly one thousand large employers showed that they may be moving more to the stick approach. Read, Companies Get Strict on Health of Workers for some insight into how firms ranging from CVS Caremark, Pepsico and Walmart are approaching this issue.

Digital Tracking Technology Becomes a Feature of Workplace Wellness Programs

For the part of an employee population willing to use them, fitness and diet tracking devices are having a meaningful payoff. You can learn more about how they work and how they're used in business dining environments here: FM FYI: Further Reading on Wellness Tracking Technology, Feedback Loops and The Quantified Self.

Others Ask, Do Workplace Screenings Actually Improve Health?

The jury is still out on this question, even as the percentage of companies that reward workers who participate in wellness programs continues to increase. Some of the latest statistics are cited by Bloomberg BusinessWeek in Will Workplace Screenings Under Obamacare Improve Health?