THE EVOLUTION OF THE OFFICE
The office historically has been the way we have operated our businesses for thousands of years, some say. “There is evidence to suggest that the first offices originated in ancient Rome as spaces where official work was conducted and that similar spaces existed in some form throughout the ages. “However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that dedicated office buildings began to be created,” said K2 Spaces. “With the British Empire expanding and engaging in an increasing level of trade with other parts of the empire (and world), the first office building was built in 1726 in London and became known as The Old Admiralty Office. It served to handle the masses of the paperwork generated by the Royal Navy and included meeting spaces and the Admiralty Board Room, which is still used today”.
“For the intellectual work, separate rooms are necessary so that a person who works with his head may not be interrupted; but for the more mechanical work, the working in concert of a number of clerks in the same room under proper superintendence, is the proper mode of meeting it,” said K2 Spaces.
The green areas show how workspaces will need to change, giving each employee adequate room to practice at least six feet of social distancing while at the office.
For years we have designed our spaces with function of a particular job at the forefront and not wellness. Even as we progressed through the years, and adopted beautiful wide open office floor plans, the idea was to maximize the floor plan as much as possible to fit as many workers as possible. These days companies are putting wellness first, and it is resulting in long lasting value for their retention of employees, and can enhance productivity of a workforces on a scalable level.
“Productive atmosphere. It’s essential that employers take the physical work environment of their employees into consideration. Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work settings to produce their best work,” said Forbes.
According to the Fellowes Workplace Wellness Trend Report, employees also want to work in a healthy environment. Here are some findings from the survey:
- An overwhelming majority (87%) of workers would like their current employer to offer healthier workspace benefits, with options ranging from wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.
- Interestingly, employees of younger companies are less likely (34%) to be turned down when asking for in-office benefits like sit-stand desks, than employees at established companies (42%).
Designers have the power to paint a picture of what a space could look like, and how that can inspire employees to do their best work. It’s all about fostering creativity and collaboration. Our Infinity Group design team imaged a world inside that found inspiration from the exterior, literally! Because, who wouldn’t want to do their best in a tree house? Here’s a little more about the unique TaskUs space from our Director of Design Laura Merrill.
“TaskUs is a young, hip, tech company with a quirky personality. The design had to be on par with their credo ‘Be ridiculous,’” said Laura.
A cool TaskUs wall-bench, gigantic plywood trees, and 17 different colors achieved that goal in a playful manner. The TaskUs wall serves as a gigantic sign while providing a place to sit inside one of the letters and take a phone call.
“The trees are perfect for hanging seasonal decorations that the TaskUs team is so fond of. Variety of lounge and more structured seating arrangements provide a perfect setup for the work style of the organization.”
The design satisfied all the client’s programmatic requirements and was built on time and within the projected budget. Work, and the office, has certainly changed over the centuries. From the Old Admiralty Office to the TaskUs treehouse, it’s incredible to see how shifting societal priorities have shaped this place we call the office. We believe COVID-19 will catapult us into the future with an even greater awareness about what the office needs to give us, and what we need to give ourselves.