The character of office work evolves together with the scope of duties, technology development, the changing management style and employees’ needs. The work environment tries to keep up with these changes by meeting its users’ expectations and providing them with comfortable conditions for performing tasks that differ from those carried out in the past.
Ewelina Adamus, Senior Workplace Research and Development Consultant
To ensure an office space meets all the requirements effectively, it is necessary to gather some knowledge of a particular organisation. It is the basis of all activities in the area of conscious arrangement of an office space and its positive influence on employees' well-being and productivity.
Office work evolves constantly. The process of its evolution can be presented by the three following transitions: from stationary to mobile work, from routine to conceptual work, and from individual to team work.
As shown by Nowy Styl Group's analyses, the average desk occupancy level in companies is 55%. This means that for almost half of the working day desks are unoccupied and their owners work away from them. Due to the fact that the work style is becoming more mobile, desks cease to perform their multifunctional role. Mobility has also an internal character and means working in different office zones, not only at one's desk. External mobility is becoming popular as well. It is based on remote work from home, a cafe, business trips or different departments.
The transition from stationary work at a desk to mobile work from different zones in the office and out-of-the-office locations generates a need for a wider choice of office facilities that help employees perform their work smoothly.
Duties that were based on routine, repetitive tasks in the past are now changing into more conceptual mental work that requires focus and concentration. Individual creative work, analyses, search for inspiration, conceptual thinking, learning through self-development – these are the examples of activities employees perform in the work environment.
Modern offices based on the open space concept do not provide employees with proper conditions for performing those tasks. Research carried out by Nowy Styl Group confirms that noise and the lack of possibilities to work in the quiet are the biggest disadvantages of open spaces. It is therefore important to take the aspect of concentration into account when thinking of the office space arrangement and design places where employees will be able to perform undisturbed work.
Team work is particularly important for the youngest generations of employees who prefer this mode of working. Cooperation, exchange of information and knowledge, quick consultations – these are the activities the youngest generations are eager to undertake. For them, the office is primarily a place where they can work together. Due to diverse forms of cooperation, the office environment must offer proper space and arrangement solutions. As our experience shows, an insufficient number of meeting places is a huge inconvenience in modern offices that hinders free cooperation between employees.
Evolution of office work exerts a significant impact on the way offices look. They should always reflect the work style of a particular organisation and its real needs. Flexibility, access to various work zones, modern technology, mobility and employees' comfort are the challenges modern office spaces have to face.