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Photograph of DCSF supplied with the permission of DEGW, workplace designers and change management consultants and Chris Gascoigne, photographer.

Transforming government workplaces

The civil service is under continual pressure to perform and the design of government workplaces is now more important than ever to service performance. Redesigning the workplace can transform the way organizations operate through enabling business change. Across government a host of workplace projects have been underway embracing not only physical change but integrated business, organizational and cultural change. The evidence for this is available in the following OGC reports and publications promoting best practice in workplace design.  

Working Without Walls


Working Without Walls illustrates that the workplace is no longer viewed as a passive overhead but as a powerful and integral aspect of government business, that given the right attention and investment significantly enhances the effectiveness of public service delivery. Celebrating some of the best government workplace projects evident in 2004, the book highlights emerging best practice and summarizes lessons learnt in order to inform, encourage and support wider improvement and innovation, across both the public and private sectors.

Workplace Improvement


Implementing mandatory efficiency standards for government workplaces from 2008 onwards will enable significant savings and sustainable performance improvements across an estate costing £6 billion a year to run. With organizations adopting new ways of occupying space these efficiency standards refer to the average space per person rather than to space required for each desk and although they are mandatory will leave to each government organization the decision on how they can best be achieved. For new office buildings and major refurbishments the efficiency standard is 10 square metres net internal area per person. For workplace improvement arising from other refurbishments, from introducing flexible working and from layout alterations the standard is between 10 and 12 square metres net internal area per person.

Working Beyond Walls


Evidence from case studies within "Working Beyond Walls" published in 2008 illustrates that for a new generation of civil servants "Work is what you do, not a place you go." This book explores the role of the workplace as an agent for change and describes a vision for government workplaces of the future. The authors discuss issues facing those seeking to achieve change through distributed working and the design of innovative workplaces. Through reference to case study examples drawn from across the UK, Working Beyond Walls offers advice and inspiration about how to achieve change successfully.

You can download copies of each of our three publication here or to order copies of the above documents please contact the OGC Service Desk, telephone 0845 000 4999 or email


Case Study