Is an office just a frame of mind?

For most of us, we leave our homes and travel to our office. For others, they move from one room in their house to another and are in their office. Some don’t even leave a room before they call it their office. You may even be wondering, can I leave my bedroom and come back and call it my office? Some people do! So, that leaves us wondering just what is an office?

Historically, offices have been used to house people to perform tasks considered essential to the process of business. Business involves selling goods and services, which involves purchasing and production, which involve finance and record keeping, all of which involve personnel!

However, putting these various forms of “officing” into perspective, we see that the focus is more on the activity than the location. This has become such a mainstream observation that now we have buildings designed to enable employees to work together in groups, to share workstations, to even have an occasional desk as needed. Clearly, the evidence is such that productivity is not only flourishing but companies and staff alike are creating hybrids that accommodate their functions.

We are told to “thrive” by Kaiser Permanente and to explore our imaginations with GE, and only God knows what our alma mater is telling us …

Yet, here we are advancing much more rapidly than any industrial engineer could have imagined. We have areas called “open plan” which “can be made up of one main room with tens or hundreds of people working in the same space. [Wiki] There are cubicles, private offices, simple workspaces that can be arranged on demand, and yet in each of these, the purpose is to enable productivity.

And, again, it is not the space that is determining the value of the “office” itself but rather the activity being conducted. If the programmer is coding, he/she needs privacy and quiet to accomplish the task at hand; if the artist is working on a new design and is wanting immediate feedback, then a shared environment if much more suitable; if the accountant is attempting to “balance the books” then a private office is well suited to that activity.

So what is the future of office space and what are the drivers? Catch our next article and dig into the technology that is transforming work itself.

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Office: Office Structure. Wikipedia, 18 Oct 2018, Accessed 6 Dec 2018.

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