An office is a space where a business or company employees perform functions relating to their specific role in the organization.
The word "office" refers to anything that is business-related. A company is required by law to have an office in a place where they are officially conducting their business. An office can range from a small space such as a desk in a corner to a large office building dedicated to one specific company.
History of Office Spaces
Office spaces in the past were often a part or room in a palace or temple. These rooms often contain scrolls written by scribes. These rooms were often called “libraries” because it is where the records were kept, but in fact is an office. It is a place meant for creating and writing edifices and treaties.
The Modern Office Space
High Middle Age is when the “chancery” was introduced. It is a place where official letters and laws were written and kept in a government administration. These rooms were built with pigeon-holes where the rolled up parchments called scrolls were held for safekeeping.
In Medieval times, people misinterpret an office with a library because it is where the records or parchments are kept. Official documents and books are written in the same space and in the same desk.
Printing was introduced during the Renaissance period. It is at this period when businesses conduct their affairs in the same structure including sales, administrative work, warehousing.
In the 15th-century, many cities experience a rise in population. The office building became popular wherein a specific building was used for all business-related activities.
The office spaces that we see today is a reflection and development during the course of history. Changes had been adapted depending on the needs of a specific sector for which space is being used.
Introduction of the Open-Plan Layout in offices
In the 18th and 19th century, the business sector such as banking, retail, insurance, communications, and petroleum grew in size. A larger amount of desks and specialized office space were needed to conduct the companies affairs.
Most of the desks during this time is composed of heavy storage bins higher than the work desks, which gives the cubicles a degree of privacy.
The high price of land in central business areas led to the construction of multi-story office buildings. Previously, these structures have a maximum of 10 floors. Higher structures were built when iron and steel was introduced.
When the safety elevator was introduced in 1852, higher buildings became more popular. Towards the end of the 19th Century, large glass atriums became a frequent design. This allows better air circulation and natural light into the structure.
Modern Efficiency Desk was introduced in 1915. It is a flat desk with drawers below, to give managers a view of their workers. This is a return to the open spaces popular during the pre-industrial era. Larger office spaces were required for this set-up.
By the mid-20th century, the concept of the “Action Office” became known. The logic is that an office is more efficient if they have privacy control. This design discourages poor productivity and encourages creativity. It led to the current cubicle office furniture set-up.
Japanese companies implemented a more efficient way of handling their business. The open-plan layout is designed to encourage maximum production from its employees. The typical open-plan layout is the horizontally designed office structure, which provides ease of communication ideas among the group.
Parts of the Office
The open office layout is horizontal in structure. Typically, it does not have walls dividing the desks, no cubicles, and no individual offices.
The island-style desks are used to allow workers to work effectively in an open office floor plan. Each group sits together on an island, and the group leader sits in a prominent position on the island to supervise and ensure productivity.
This type of seating gives the group members the ability to speak and collaborate with team members. It also allows for informal meetings and group discussions.
Office space is designed for workers to perform their specific tasks, ideally at minimum cost and maximum output. However, it is not easy to find the right office space. An office is divided into 3 parts: The workspace, meeting space, and support space.
Workspace - this space is used for specific office activities including reading, research, writing, computer work or administrative tasks.
Meeting space - is an area used for interactive activities such as quick meetings and brainstorming sessions.
Support spaces - is an office space used for additional activities like document filing or lounge area during breaks. There are different support spaces designed for different types of activities.
Offices can be built in either a villa, one-floor structures, and office buildings. An office building is an example of a commercial building specifically designed to be used for offices. Their primary purpose is as a work area for administrative and managerial employees.
These spaces are usually built with desks, computers and other equipment that workers need to perform their tasks.
An office building can be used for a single company or divided into sections for many companies. Each company will typically give their own waiting area, meeting rooms, single or open plan workspaces, and gender-specific restrooms.
Shared office buildings have kitchen facilities and staff room. Serviced Office spaces are also now available, including swimming pools or gym/wellness centers. Companies occupying the same building share these facilities.