For many years, being able to work outside the office topped the list of the most-desired employee benefits. The bait of flexibility was used to catch the best talents. The IT industry led the way – that’s where the trend of individualism started in the early 1980s, before spreading to other industries. Specialists from HR departments have confirmed that such freedom was leading staff performance and satisfaction rates to skyrocket. In 2017, however, there was a radical shift away from this approach: the biggest global corporations said “stop” to remote work. Why did this happen?
“They understood that although working outside the office has a positive impact on productivity, it negatively affects the company's development. This results from limited interactions with colleagues. John Sullivan, a professor of management, summed it up perfectly by saying: ‘If you want innovation, then you need interaction. If you want productivity, then you want people working from home’,” explains Ewelina Solecka, Workplace Consulting Manager at the Nowy Styl Group. She gives a long list of situations a person working from home has no opportunity to experience, including brainstorming, stand-up meetings, quick discussions at a desk or accidental conversations in the queue for the coffee machine or in the hall (these are called ‘collisions’).
There is more to the office than just a desk
Giving up flexible working, however, does not mean a return to long hours spent sitting behind a desk. On the contrary! We know today that almost 80 percent of ideas are conceived at places other than the desk. So, there was a need for a golden mean – an arrangement that’s somewhere between the traditional and flexible models . As a result, the concept of individualism at work has been redefined; it now results in an office space that is arranged in a way that creates the right conditions for performing various types of tasks. According to our Workplace Research and Consulting Department, these tasks can be assigned to one of four types of activities: concentration, communication, regeneration and administration. Each of them requires a different arrangement of space, i.e. a separation of zones dedicated for various types of tasks.
Concentration vs. communication
The division of office space into activity zones involves creating diverse spaces, e.g. for formal and informal meetings, for individual and team work, for concentration and communication. Each zone has a different character, because the tasks performed in them are often very different. For example, to create a separate meeting spot within an open space, you can use the modular sofa system Tepee – with its high walls, it forms a small space for teamwork that is cut off from external stimuli. Social areas, the design of which should help people open up to one other, can be the opposite of enclosed meeting zones. Tapa poufs attract the eye with their unusual appearance and provide a comfortable place for informal meetings in the kitchen or in an open space. With their designer look, both solutions are also a distinctive element of interior design.
Home office design
“It’s just as important to make sure the office feels like home; that’s something called ‘home office design’,” says Ewelina Solecka, reminding us that it’s partly the friendly environment that increases the performance of people working at home. “Of course, you can’t literally move your home into the office, but you can warm up the workplace by adding things like plants, more wood and more vivid colours to it. With this in mind, we keep expanding our fabric and colour charts with new colours, such as the raspberry burgundy or marine green we added for the Denuo chair.”
In the Xilium chair, the flexibility of movement and relaxed sitting position are emphasized, with the backrest adjusting perfectly to the rotation of the back on any plane, behaving almost like a hammock that wraps you in the best possible way. Its wide seat enables you to sit cross-legged for a while, for instance. As a result, you can sit the way you like – another golden mean .
So, Let’s #MakeYourSpace Flexible!
Read our next article on the importance of a well-furnished kitchen for the office (Let’s #MakeYourSpace Social) on Monday, 1 October.