WHEN YOU think of cutting edge, 21st-century workplaces, chances are a county government bureaucracy does not come to mind. But the Human Services and Public Health Department of Hennepin County, in Minneapolis, Minn., is engaged in about as radical an experiment with flexible work as exists.
One morning late last year, the lobby was packed with people applying for food, housing and other public assistance. But down a hall, in a grayish-beige cubicle farm, it feels like a ghost office.
"Here's another one, empty," says supervisor Ann Zager as she guides me among vacant chairs and black computer terminals. Her staff of 13 determines eligibility for assistance, and half of them are not here.