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First it was the cellular office, then the open plan office and then the group office. Those were the types of office concepts in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, respectively. After that, in the 1980s, companies introduced a combi-office, whose main role was to create a more communicative business environment. How does office design function today and how does it affect workers’ output?
Small offices – easy to adapt
Today the team is the main cell of every business, be it a small local business or a multinational company. This is why many companies nowadays create offices that can host smaller teams of workers. When employees are divided into smaller groups,their productivity rate is much higher. However, it is not enough only to create teams and expect that things will simply develop in a desired way. Both small and large teams need to be encouraged to keep a positive attitude. Lounge areas can contribute a lot to such atmosphere
When you have a look at the work areas of the largest international companies, such as Facebook, Google or Microsoft, your first thought might be that you are looking at a playground and not the headquarters of the most renowned modern enterprises. They offer their workers well-equipped relaxation zones, providing them with a wide range of flexible work stations. There are bean bags, sofas, armchairs, standing desks, offices that look like living rooms, gaming lounges and many other features that boost creativity and decrease stress. You can have a look at the photos of Google’s London headquarters on the Telegraph website. The common denominator of all these companies is that they are all IT giants with outstanding productivity. It is a clear signpost to every small business that their office(s) should be designed in a flexible, worker-friendly way. However, there are some limitations when it comes to such an approach.
The boundaries of office freedom
Is it really possible to organize your office and things inside in such a crazy and modern way? First of all, such an approach is not applicable to every office in the world. While it is a perfect choice for an IT startup, it could be a terrible option for a furniture-manufacturing plant. So, first of all, office design depends on the type of business. Secondly, if you want to give your workers a more relaxed work environment, they need to have a sort of a safe background. Translated to the modern corporative lingo, your business has to have a backup solution. If a software tool can perform some tasks instead of a worker or with their help, it is much easier to organize a laid-back office, because there is some safe ground behind your workers. The good news is that more and more companies will be able offer their employees a higher level of work freedom, since modern technologies are changing business in general, improving work conditions and unburdening workers.
When things get serious
Although flexibility and an easy-going attitude definitely help workers reach a higher output level, there are certain contexts in which only a serious and traditional approach to office design is acceptable. For instance, let’s say that a group of team leaders need to come up with a special brand name for a new product. They will be much more efficient is they sit down at one of those inspiring boardroom tables and keep brainstorming and communicating until they reach their goal. In general, when you have to make some supreme business decisions, working in a traditionally arranged environment, such as an open plan office is a more productive approach. Only when the basic business guidelines have been made should you apply a more relaxed work strategy for their implementation.
If workers are satisfied with their work stations and office organization in general, they will be more productive and loyal to their company. Office managers need to be flexible and listen to their employees’ suggestions. Only a joint effort of management and workers will ensure that your office becomes a well-designed place, yielding remarkable business results.