What is an office?
An office is a place where work is done; that work may be of a highly diverse nature. In the context of this article, the location, establishment, or premises intended for carrying out some type of professional management, administration, or other work will be considered an office.
The office is where a large part of a company’s or self-employed professional’s activity takes place. It must have a set of material resources, and its space must be distributed in a comfortable, functional way according to the activities done there and the number of people who work there.
How are offices commonly used?
In principle, the term can refer to a space where many types of work are done; over time, though, planning, management, administration, and intellectual activities have been defined as office work, as opposed to physical labor. Meanwhile, spaces for more practical, physical work have taken on terms like workshop, studio, and laboratory.
Considering this, offices are usually equipped with computers, filing furniture, an Internet connection, etc. Offices may be for a group or an individual, and this generally has to do with the employees’ rank within the company.
Work stations, meeting rooms, entrances, receptions, and break rooms are essential elements when designing and laying out an office. One of the missions of the company is to manage the office spaces efficiently in order to generate an environment that’s positive, efficient, sustainable, and safe and to achieve well-being at work.
What are the main types of offices?
We can say that a company’s office is a reflection of its personality, its philosophy, and ultimately, its organizational culture. Many types of offices exist, but we’ll summarize the characteristics of some of the main ones today.
1. Virtual office:
A kind of office that many successful entrepreneurs opted for in their early days. Virtual offices are a digital workspace. They allow a business to be run and managed from home or other spaces without affecting its corporate image. This is a great option to project a good image without incurring the expenses of renting or acquiring physical premises.
2. Modern office:
Also called a Smart Office. A type of office where, in addition to thinking about functionality, spaces are created for wellness or recreational activities. This type of office is especially useful in companies whose employees are under a lot of pressure and need high levels of concentration and creativity. Google’s offices are a paradigm of this type of office.
3. Shared office:
Also called a co-working space. This space is equipped with all the comforts of an office, but it does not belong to any company. Instead, it’s rented by sections and periods of time to small start-ups or independent professionals. These shared spaces lower costs and offer the opportunity to connect with other professionals.
4. Executive offices:
This is the most traditional model. Typically, a company rents or buys a building or part of one and divides the space to create private and individual offices. The company designs, furnishes, and equips the space for carrying out its activity. It also takes care of facilities and common areas (toilets, the cafeteria, and conference rooms).
What is the importance of design in offices?
In recent years, the need to design workspaces that not only account for the professional needs of those who occupy them but also meet their needs as human beings has become increasingly evident. This is why leading companies have begun to rethink the idea of the office.
One inexpensive design element is paint. Light colors and pastels, in addition to white, are a good way to create a feeling of more space and light, which translates into a happier, more productive environment. Meanwhile, strong colors are ideal in strategic locations to increase energy and boost confidence in decision-making venues.
Plants are also a key element and are increasingly in vogue in offices. Adding plants to the work environment improves air quality, reduces stress, increases concentration, and reduces psychological disorders, such as depression and nature deficit syndrome. In addition, it has been shown that having a relationship with the plants – seeing them grow, bloom, etc. – motivates workers to go to the office. In addition, the green color relaxes the eyes, so having a plant to look at for a few minutes each day helps mitigate the eye strain typical of office work.
This all indicates that offices will become increasingly personal, pleasant environments. In the leading countries in terms of workplace well-being, we’re seeing pet-friendly offices and ways for parents to not have to be separated from their children for most of the day to continue in the workforce.
According to CBRE’s Wellness in the Workplace report, 79% of workers surveyed say that balancing work with family life is a source of stress. In comparison, 80% say that having wellness programs at their jobs would be the key to retaining them and keeping them motivated for the next 10 years.
The concept of the office, like many other things, took a turn in 2020 when the global health crisis led employees and companies to rethink and reinvent workspaces. The home office has prevailed as the main model for workplaces. There is still much controversy about the long-term sustainability of this model and the relationship between pros and cons. One thing is for sure: this method of working will not disappear in the near future.
Fun facts about offices
- A good office is not enough to create a good work environment. Google’s offices around the world have served as the ideal office model in recent years; however, due to various factors, its employees are not among the most satisfied.
- Approximately 20% of employed individuals in Spain do office work.
- According to a study carried out by Ipsos, 74% of Spanish workers would like to take their pet to work, and 36% consider this work benefit more valuable than having a company car or discounts on food.
- During the 2020 health crisis, 69% of Spanish employees expressed the desire to telecommute, but their companies didn’t allow it.