There are a range of health benefits that have been associated with good office equipment. This has resulted in a huge focus on meeting the needs of all employees in the working environment.
The attitudes of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries were very clear with respect to office accommodation. What was provided was functional but typically limited in its design thinking.
Employee welfare and comfort were of secondary consideration to things such as budget and space. Productivity was measured and maintained largely by a process of fear of authority.
Yet by the middle of the last century, it became clear that office accommodation played a critical role in a number of areas including:
- The health and well-being of employees
- Positive customer perceptions during visits
- Public and employee relations.
The relevance of things such as furniture and accommodation to the above was reinforced from the late twentieth century onwards by the arrival of widespread workplace technology.
That technology had to be accommodated in classic office furniture such as desks, meeting rooms, breakout areas and so on. So, the technological revolution forced an equally rapid re-evaluation of what an office should look like and how it could be best configured in order to allow technology to flourish whilst at the same time providing a positive employee experience.
Flexibility is the key
Ultimately these processes have led to the development of concepts such as:
- “Hot desking”
- The virtual meeting room
- Highly flexible and customisable office pods
- Configurable personal workspaces
These are important because unlike in the past, employees today may have different needs and different expectations of their working environment.
For example, on a typical day, a given employee might appreciate a largely open-plan environment where they can easily interact with their colleagues. Yet a sudden problem might mean they need to focus and therefore shut themselves off from visual and audible distraction.
Previously, the approach would have been to try and find a spare meeting room – something that was often difficult or even impossible at short notice.
Today it might be possible to have effectively a completely self-containable modular working space and office pods which can become essentially a short-term private office for a given employee around their normal location.
That ability to work in a pod might come with all technology support automatically built in – including printing services of the type we can supply.
In other situations, a number of employees may wish to have a conference together at short notice. They may not even be in the same geographical site. This is where the concept of the virtual meeting room comes into play through the use of technology and in some cases, customisable office furniture.
Investing in the future
Today many offices continue to be configured along conventional lines. That might significantly and adversely affect a number of things including absenteeism and productivity.
True, the investment in more flexible systems may need to be cost-justified. However, benefits are considerable and it may be something worth reviewing sooner rather than later.