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Break-out space

A current management fashion involves at least partly reinventing the office. In such environments, workers no longer have their own desks and workspaces. Instead, in a technique called hot-desking, they are allocated a location each day according to their needs, storing working materials and personal belongings in portable lockers overnight. This vastly increases flexibility for the employer, who no longer needs to keep expensive office space available for workers who may only be there part of the time, but it causes problems of rootlessness for staff whose territorial sense is well developed. Several jargon terms have been created for aspects of this new system; it is too soon to determine whether they will enter the lexicon. One such is lagoon, describing a group of workers all engaged on a common task. Another is break-out space, which is a quiet area away from the bustle of the workplace where informal meetings can be held (a common technique is to make participants stand up to stop sessions extending beyond need). The process is called breaking out.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 12 Apr. 1997

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-bre1.htm
Last modified: 12 April 1997.