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An office is a space where an
organization's
organization's
employee Employment is the relationship between two parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview; cropped away black border edge.jpg, 300px, ''Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' ...

employee
s perform
administrative Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes th ...
work Work may refer to: * Work (human activity), intentional activity people perform to support themselves, others, or the community ** Manual labour, physical work done by humans ** House work, housework, or homemaking * Work (physics), the product of ...
in order to support and realize objects and
goals A goal is an objective that a person or a system plans or intends to achieve. Goal may also refer to: Sport * Goal (sport), a method of scoring in many sports, or the physical structure or area where scoring occurs ** Goals, the Football_pitch#Go ...
of the
organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...

organization
. The word "office" may also denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it (see
officer An officer is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth ...
, office-holder,
official An official is someone who holds an office (function or , regardless whether it carries an actual with it) in an or government and participates in the exercise of , (either their own or that of their superior and/or employer, public or legally ...

official
); the latter is in fact an earlier usage, office as place originally referring to the location of one's duty. When used as an
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
, the term "office" may refer to
business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trad ...

business
-related tasks. In
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...

law
, a
company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal person, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Company members share a common pu ...

company
or organization has offices in any place where it has an official presence, even if that presence consists of (for example) a
storage silo A silo (from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 ...
rather than an establishment with
desk A desk or bureau is a piece of with a flat -style work surface used in a school, , home or the like for academic, professional or domestic activities such as , , or using equipment such as a . Desks often have one or more , compartments, or pig ...

desk
-and-
chair One of the basic pieces of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furni ...

chair
. An office is also an
architectural Architecture (Latin ''architectura ''Architectura: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Baukunst'' is a biannual peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the wo ...

architectural
and
design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a prototype, product or process. The verb ''to design' ...

design
phenomenon: ranging from a small office such as a bench in the corner of a
small business Small businesses are privately owned corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and pu ...
of extremely small size (see
small office/home office Small office/home office (or single office/home office; sometimes short SOHO) refers to the category of business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods an ...
), through entire floors of buildings, up to and including massive buildings dedicated entirely to one company. In modern terms an office is usually the location where
white-collar worker A white-collar worker is a person who performs professional, desk, managerial, or administrative work. White-collar work may be performed in an office or other administrative setting. White-collar workers include job paths related to government ...
s carry out their functions. According to
James Stephenson James Albert Stephenson (14 April 1889 – 29 July 1941) was a British stage and film actor. He found extraordinarily rapid success in Hollywood after arriving in his late 40s, but he died unexpectedly in his early 50s. Early life The son of ...
, "Office is that part of
business enterprise Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trad ...
which is devoted to the direction and co-ordination of its various activities." Offices in
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
were often part of a palace complex or of a large temple. The
High Middle Ages The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical c ...
(1000–1300) saw the rise of the medieval
chancery Chancery may refer to: * Chancery (diplomacy), the building that houses a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy * Chancery (medieval office), a medieval writing office * Chancery (Scotland) (also called The office of Director of Chancery, or Chan ...
, which was usually the place where most government letters were written and where laws were copied in the administration of a kingdom. With the growth of large, complex organizations in the 18th century, the first purpose-built office spaces were constructed. As the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
intensified in the 18th and 19th centuries, the industries of
bank A bank is a financial institution Financial institutions, otherwise known as banking institutions, are corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), stat ...

bank
ing,
rail Rail or rails may refer to: Rail transport *Rail transport and related matters *Rail (rail transport) or railway lines, the running surface of a railway Film *Rails (film), ''Rails'' (film), a 1929 Italian film by Mario Camerini *Rail (1967 fil ...

rail
,
insurance Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risk In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. ...

insurance
,
retail Retail is the sale of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption ( ...

retail
,
petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoc ...

petroleum
, and
telegraph Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus is a method of telegraphy, whereas is not. Ancien ...

telegraph
y grew dramatically, requiring many clerks, and as a result more office space was assigned to house their activities. The
time-and-motion study A time and motion study (or time-motion study) is a business efficiency (economics), efficiency technique combining the Time Study work of Frederick Winslow Taylor with the Motion Study work of Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Frank and Lillian Moller Gilbret ...
, pioneered in manufacturing by F. W. Taylor (1856-1915) led to the "Modern Efficiency Desk" of 1915 with a flat top and drawers below, designed to allow managers an easy view of the workers. However, by the middle of the 20th century, it became apparent that an efficient office required discretion in the control of
privacy Privacy (, ) is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively. When something is private to a person, it usually means that something is inherently special ...

privacy
, and gradually the
cubicle A cubicle is a partially enclosed office workspace that is separated from neighboring workspaces by partitions that are usually tall. Its purpose is to isolate office workers and managers from the sights and noises of an open workspace so that ...

cubicle
system evolved. The main purpose of an office environment is to support its occupants in performing their jobs. s in an office are typically used for conventional office activities such as reading, writing and computer work. There are nine generic types of work space, each supporting different activities. In addition to individual cubicles, one can find
meeting room A small conference room in Playa Vista, Los Angeles in May 2006. A conference hall, conference room, or meeting room is a room In a building, a room is any space Space is the boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events ...
s, lounges, and spaces for support activities, such as photocopying and filing. Some offices also have a kitchen area where workers can make their lunches. There are many different ways of arranging the space in an office and whilst these vary according to function, managerial
fashion Fashion is a form of self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body. Typically, clothing is made of fab ...

fashion
s and the culture of specific companies can be even more important. While offices can be built in almost any location and in almost any building, some modern requirements for offices make this more difficult, such as requirements for light, networking, and security. The major purpose of an office building is to provide a workplace and working environment - primarily for administrative and managerial workers. These workers usually occupy set areas within the office building, and usually are provided with desks, PCs and other equipment they may need within these areas. The chief operating officer (COO) is responsible for handling administration and maintenance of an office building.


History

The structure and shape of the office are impacted by both management thought as well as construction materials and may or may not have walls or barriers. The word stems from the Latin officium, and its equivalents in various, mainly romance, languages. An officium was not necessarily a place, but rather an often mobile 'bureau' in the sense of a human staff or even the abstract notion of a formal position, such as a magistrature. The relatively elaborate Roman bureaucracy would not be equaled for centuries in the West after the fall of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
, even partially reverting to illiteracy, while the East preserved a more sophisticated administrative culture, both under Byzantium and under Islam. Offices in classical antiquity were often part of a palace complex or a large temple. There was usually a room where
scroll A scroll (from the Old French ''escroe'' or ''escroue''), also known as a roll, is a roll of papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the ...
s were kept and
scribe A scribe is a person who serves as a professional copyist A copyist is a person who makes copies. The term is sometimes used for artists who make copies of other artists' paintings. However, the modern use of the term is almost entirely conf ...

scribe
s did their work. Ancient texts mentioning the work of scribes allude to the existence of such "offices". These rooms are sometimes called "libraries" by some archaeologists and the general press because one often associates scrolls with literature. In fact, they were true offices since the scrolls were meant for record-keeping and other management functions such as treaties and edicts, and not for writing or keeping poetry or other works of fiction.


Middle Ages

The
High Middle Ages The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical c ...
(1000–1300) saw the rise of the medieval
chancery Chancery may refer to: * Chancery (diplomacy), the building that houses a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy * Chancery (medieval office), a medieval writing office * Chancery (Scotland) (also called The office of Director of Chancery, or Chan ...
, which was usually the place where most government letters were written and where laws were copied in the administration of a kingdom. The rooms of the chancery often had walls full of pigeonholes, constructed to hold rolled up pieces of parchment for safekeeping or ready reference, a precursor to the bookshelf. The introduction of printing during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
did not change these early government offices much. Medieval illustrations, such as paintings or tapestries, often show people in their private offices handling record-keeping books or writing on scrolls of
parchment Parchment is a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a mediu ...

parchment
. All kinds of writings seemed to be mixed in these early forms of offices. Before the invention of the
printing press A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an ink Ink is a gel, sol, or solution Image:SaltInWaterSolutionLiquid.jpg, Making a saline water solution by dissolving Salt, table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) in water ...
and its distribution there was often a very thin line between a private office and a private
library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

library
since books were read or written in the same space at the same
desk A desk or bureau is a piece of with a flat -style work surface used in a school, , home or the like for academic, professional or domestic activities such as , , or using equipment such as a . Desks often have one or more , compartments, or pig ...

desk
or
table Table may refer to: * Table (information) A table is an arrangement of data Data are units of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus define ...
, and general accounting and personal or private letters were also done there. It was during the 13th century that the English form of the word first appeared when referring to a position involving duties (ex. the office of the ...).
Geoffrey Chaucer Geoffrey Chaucer (; – 25 October 1400) was an English poet and author. Widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and coll ...

Geoffrey Chaucer
appears to have first used the word in 1395 to mean a place where business is transacted in ''
The Canterbury Tales ''The Canterbury Tales'' ( enm, Tales of Caunterbury) is a collection of 24 stories that runs to over 17,000 lines written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400. It is near-unanimously seen as Chaucer's ''Masterpiece, mag ...

The Canterbury Tales
''. As
mercantilism Mercantilism is an economic policy The economic policy of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Li ...

mercantilism
became the dominant economic theory of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, merchants tended to conduct their business in the same buildings, which might include retail sales, warehousing and clerical work. During the 15th century, population density in many cities reached the point where stand-alone buildings were used by merchants to conduct their business, and there was a developing a distinction between church, government/military, and commerce uses for buildings.


Emergence of the modern office

With the growth of large, complex organizations such as the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
and the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
in the 18th century, the first purpose-built office spaces were constructed. The Old Admiralty ( Ripley Building) was built in 1726 as a three-storey U-shaped brick building and was the first purpose built office building in Great Britain. As well as offices, the building housed a board room and
apartment An apartment (), or flat (, ), is a self-contained (a type of residential ) that occupies only part of a building, generally on a single story. There are many names for these overall buildings, see below. The of apartments also varies ...

apartment
s for the Lords of the Admiralty. In the 1770s, many scattered offices for the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
were gathered into
Somerset House Somerset House is a large Neoclassicism, Neoclassical complex situated on the south side of the Strand, London, Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The Georgian architecture, Georgian quadrang ...

Somerset House
, the first block purpose-built for office work. The
East India House East India House was the London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a est ...

East India House
was built in 1729 on
Leadenhall Street __NOTOC__ Leadenhall Street () is a street in the City of London. It is about and links Cornhill, London, Cornhill in the west to Aldgate in the east. It was formerly the start of the A11 road (England), A11 road from London to Norwich, but tha ...

Leadenhall Street
as the headquarters from which the East India Company administered its . The Company developed a very complex bureaucracy for the task, which required thousands of office employees to process the necessary paperwork. The Company recognized the benefits of centralized administration, and required that all workers sign in and out at the central office, daily. As the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
intensified in the 18th and 19th centuries, the industries of
bank A bank is a financial institution Financial institutions, otherwise known as banking institutions, are corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), stat ...

bank
ing,
rail Rail or rails may refer to: Rail transport *Rail transport and related matters *Rail (rail transport) or railway lines, the running surface of a railway Film *Rails (film), ''Rails'' (film), a 1929 Italian film by Mario Camerini *Rail (1967 fil ...

rail
,
insurance Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risk In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. ...

insurance
,
retail Retail is the sale of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption ( ...

retail
,
petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoc ...

petroleum
, and
telegraph Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus is a method of telegraphy, whereas is not. Ancien ...

telegraph
y dramatically grew in size and complexity. To transact business, an increasingly large number of clerks were needed to handle order-processing, accounting, and document filing, with increasingly specialized office space required to house these activities. Most of the desks of the era were top-heavy with paper storage bins extending above the desk-work area, giving the appearance of a cubicle and offering the workers some degree of privacy. The relatively high price of land in the central core of cities lead to the first multi-story buildings, which were limited to about 10 stories until the use of
iron and steel Ferrous metallurgy, the metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic c ...
allowed for higher structures. The first purpose-built office block was the Brunswick Building, built in
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, tenth largest English district by population, and its ...

Liverpool
in 1841. The invention of the safety
elevator An elevator (North American English North American English (NAmE, NAE) is the most generalized variety (linguistics), variety of the English language as spoken in the United States and Canada. Because of their related histories and ...
in 1852 by
Elisha Otis Elisha Graves Otis (August 3, 1811 – April 8, 1861) was an American industrialist, founder of the Otis Elevator Company Otis Worldwide Corporation ( branded as the Otis Elevator Company, its former legal name) is an American company that de ...
saw the rapid escalation upward of buildings. By the end of the 19th century, larger office buildings frequently contained large glass atriums to allow light into the complex and improve air circulation.


20th century

By 1906,
Sears Sears, Roebuck and Co., commonly known as Sears, is an American chain of department stores founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1892, and reincorporated by Richard Sears and Julius Rosenwald in 1906. Formerly based at ...

Sears
, Roebuck and Co had opened their mail order and headquarters operation in a building in Chicago, at the time the largest building in the world. The
time and motion study A time and motion study (or time-motion study) is a business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling Product (business), products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any ac ...
, pioneered in manufacturing by F. W. Taylor and later applied to the office environment by
Frank Frank may refer to: People As a name * Frank (given name) * Frank (surname) Groups of people * A member of the medieval Germanic people, the Franks * Crusaders in medieval Middle Eastern history * Levantines (Latin Christians) known as Franco ...
and
Lillian Gilbreth Lillian Evelyn Moller Gilbreth (May 24, 1878 – January 2, 1972) was an American psychologist, industrial engineer, consultant, and educator who was an early pioneer in applying psychology to time and motion study, time-and-motion studies. She wa ...

Lillian Gilbreth
, led to the idea that managers needed to play an active role in directing the work of subordinates in order to increase the efficiency of the workplace. F.W. Taylor advocated the use of large, open floor plans, and desks that faced supervisors. As a result, in 1915, the Equitable Life Insurance Company in New York City introduced the “Modern Efficiency Desk” with a flat top and drawers below, designed to allow managers an easy view of the workers. This led to a demand for a large square footages per floor in buildings, and a return to the open spaces that were seen in pre–industrial revolution buildings. However, by the midpoint of the 20th century, it became apparent that an efficient office required discretion in the control of privacy, which is needed to combat tedium linked to poor productivity, and to encourage creativity. In 1964, the
Herman Miller (office equipment) Herman Miller, Inc. is an American company that produces office furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, Stool (seat), stools, and sofas), eating (table (furnit ...
company engaged Robert Propst, a prolific industrial designer, who came up with the concept of the
Action Office The Action Office is a series of furniture designed by Robert Propst, and manufactured and marketed by Herman Miller. First introduced in 1964 as the ''Action Office I'' product line, then superseded by the ''Action Office II'' series, it is an in ...
which later evolved into the
cubicle A cubicle is a partially enclosed office workspace that is separated from neighboring workspaces by partitions that are usually tall. Its purpose is to isolate office workers and managers from the sights and noises of an open workspace so that ...

cubicle
office furniture system.


Japan 20th century office

Japanese businesses have set themselves apart from their American counterparts by implementing different techniques in the way they handle business. The Japanese office layout improves work productivity, harmony in the office, and holds every employee accountable for the work they produce. The type of office layout used in Japan is called an
open plan Open plan is the generic term used in architectural and interior design for any floor plan which makes use of large, open spaces and minimizes the use of small, enclosed rooms such as private offices. The term can also refer to landscaping ...
, and relies on ergonomics to help make employees as productive as possible. The Japanese open office layout allows them to use an organizational structure known as the horizontal structure. In the typical Japanese office there are no walls dividing desks, no cubicles, and no individual offices. Also they are able to implement policies using the ringi-sho consensus. In order to get group members to work effectively in the open office floor plan the use of island-style desks are used. The most dominant feature of the Japanese island-style office layout is that each group forms an island. Kageyu Noro, Goroh Fujimaki & Shinsuke Kishi, researchers of ergonomics in the workplace, stated,” Japanese offices have traditionally adhered to island layouts because these reflect the Japanese style of teamwork and top-down style of management.” The group leader will then sit at the prominent position and ensure productivity. The group leader will assign a task to the group, and each member of the group then receives their individual task to complete. Island-style seating also gives the group the benefit of being able to speak to one another at any time, and ask for help if needed. Being in such close proximity to one another in the office gives another advantage to the supervisor in that he can call an uchi-awase. Uchi-awase is an informal meeting in order to get an important message across, and also allows all members of the team to be creative in the office. “The open office layout allows for this because there are hardly any independent rooms or enclosures. If the supervisor stands at his desk he can glance at his associates and easily call them over.”, according to Durlabhji, Subhash, Norton E. Marks, and Scott Roach, authors of Japanese Business: Cultural Perspective. Once all individual tasks are complete the group then combines each person's work and the project is the put together as a whole and returned to the supervisor. The work is viewed as a team effort and that each member of the group receives equal credit for being part of a team completing the goal assigned. The group itself holds each member accountable for ensuring that the work is getting done, and that no one individual is doing more work than another. Another motivating factor is that the group's boss is also seated at the same desk, and the effect that this has on the individuals is that they must work hard just like the boss. The role of having an open layout with island-type seating allows the office to be structured so the employees are put together as teams. The type of organizational structure found within the Japanese office is known as a horizontal structure. According to Andrew, Ghillyer, author of Management Now,” Horizontal structure is an organization structure consisting of two groups: the first composed of senior management responsible for strategic decisions and policies and the second composed of empowered employees working together in different process teams; also known as a team structure.” The benefit of using this type of structure is that hierarchy is flattened to reduce supervision, teams are able to self-manage, team performance, not just the individual is rewarded, and training is highly emphasized amongst all employees. With the heightened sense of empowerment and responsibility workers are motivated to complete objectives in a timely manner. Having the office structured horizontally allows for easy communication of introducing new policies and ideas amongst the groups. “Ringisho” is the concept of submitting proposals and making decisions off those ideas. By unifying everyone together in the Japanese office it helps to make better-informed decisions on policies of the company that all managers and employees have input on. The idea behind this is to get a hold of various thinking individuals to see if there is a good way in writing their policies that come to benefit the company better. Richard Lewis, author of ''When Cultures Collide'', states “Suggestions, ideas and inventions make their way up the company hierarchy by a process of collecting signatures among workers and middle managers. Many people are involved. Top executives take the final step in ratifying items that have won sufficient approval.” With this system in place changes to policies are only passed if there is an overall consensus to pass it. Allowing each group to have a say on which policies should be implemented improves overall job satisfaction and harmony throughout the office. The way Japanese offices are structured allow them to be more efficient when conducting business. The efficiency at which they operate has been noticed by such companies as General Motors, Ford, Motorola, and Chrysler Company. They continue to look for other ways to be more efficient and productive with the office layout and employee productivity.


Office spaces

The main purpose of an office environment is to support its occupants in performing their job—preferably at minimum cost and to maximum satisfaction. With different people performing different tasks and activities, however, it is not always easy to select the right office spaces. To aid decision-making in workplace and office design, one can distinguish three different types of office spaces: workspaces, meeting spaces and support spaces. For new, or developing businesses, remote satellite offices and project rooms, serviced offices can provide a simple solution and provide all of the former types of space.


Workspaces

Workspaces in an office are typically used for conventional office activities such as reading, writing and computer work. There are nine generic types of workspace, each supporting different activities. File:open office.png, open office File:team space.png, team space File:cubicle.png, cubicle Open office: An open workspace for more than ten people, suitable for activities which demand frequent communication or routine activities which need relatively little concentration Team space: A semi-enclosed workspace for two to eight people; suitable for teamwork which demands frequent internal communication and a medium level of concentration Cubicle: A semi-enclosed workspace for one person, suitable for activities which demand medium concentration and medium interaction File:private office.png, private office File:shared office.png, shared office File:team room.png, team room Private office: An enclosed workspace for one person, suitable for activities which are confidential, demand a lot of concentration or include many small meetings Shared office: An enclosed workspace for two or three people, suitable for semi-concentrated work and collaborative work in small groups Team room: An enclosed workspace for four to ten people; suitable for teamwork which may be confidential and demands frequent internal communication File:study booth.png, study booth File:work lounge.png, work lounge File:touch down.png, touch down Study booth: An enclosed workspace for one person; suitable for short-term activities which demand concentration or confidentiality Work lounge: A lounge-like workspace for two to six people; suitable for short-term activities which demand collaboration and/or allow impromptu interaction Touch down: An open workspace for one person; suitable for short-term activities which require little concentration and low interaction


Meeting spaces

Meeting spaces in an office typically use interactive processes, be it quick conversations or intensive brainstorms. There are six generic types of meeting space, each supporting different activities. File:small meeting room.png, small meeting room File:large meeting room.png, large meeting room File:small meeting space.png, Small meeting space Small meeting room: An enclosed meeting space for two to four persons, suitable for both formal and informal interaction Large meeting room: An enclosed meeting space for five to twelve people, suitable for formal interaction Small meeting space: An open or semi-open meeting space for two to four persons; suitable for short, informal interaction File:large meeting space.png, large meeting space File:brainstorm room.png, brainstorm room File:meeting point.png, meeting point Large meeting space: An open or semi-open meeting space for five to twelve people; suitable for short, informal interaction Brainstorm room: An enclosed meeting space for five to twelve people; suitable for brainstorming sessions and workshops Meeting point: An open meeting point for two to four persons; suitable for ad hoc, informal meetings


Support spaces

Support spaces in an office are typically used for secondary activities such as filing documents or taking a break. There are twelve generic types of support space, each supporting different activities. File:filing space.png, filing space File:storage sapce.png, storage space File:print and copy area.png, print and copy area Filing space: An open or enclosed support space for the storage of frequently used files and documents Storage space: An open or enclosed support space for the storage of commonly used office supplies Print and copy area: An open or enclosed support space with facilities for printing, scanning and copying File:mail area.png, mail area File:pantry area.png, pantry area File:break area.png, break area Mail area: An open or semi-open support space where employees can pick up or deliver their mail Pantry area: An open or enclosed support space where employees can get refreshments and supplies for visitor hospitality are kept. Break area: A semi-open or enclosed support space where employees can take a break from their work File:locker area.png, locker area File:smoking room.png, smoking room File:office library.png, library Locker area: An open or semi-open support space where employees can store their personal belongings Smoking room: An enclosed support space where employees can smoke a cigarette Library: A semi-open or enclosed support space for reading of books, journals and magazines File:games room.png, games room File:waiting area.png, waiting area File:circulation space.png, circulation space Games room: An enclosed support space where employees can play games (e.g. computer games, pool, darts)
Lactation room Lactation room (or Lactorium) is an American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Curren ...

Lactation room
: as of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a requirement for companies in the United States. Waiting area: An open or semi-open support space where visitors can be received and can wait for their appointment Circulation space: Support space which is required for circulation on office floors, linking all major functions


Office structure

There are many different ways of arranging the space in an office and whilst these vary according to function, managerial
fashion Fashion is a form of self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body. Typically, clothing is made of fab ...

fashion
s, and the culture of specific companies can be even more important. Choices include, how many people will work within the same room. At one extreme, each individual worker will have their own room; at the other extreme a large
open plan Open plan is the generic term used in architectural and interior design for any floor plan which makes use of large, open spaces and minimizes the use of small, enclosed rooms such as private offices. The term can also refer to landscaping ...
office can be made up of one main room with tens or hundreds of people working in the same space. Open-plan offices put multiple workers together in the same space, and some studies have shown that they can improve short-term productivity, i.e. within a single
software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection of instructions Music * I ...

software
project A project (or program) is any undertaking, carried out individually or collaboratively and possibly involving research or design, that is carefully plan A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with details of timing and resources, us ...

project
. At the same time, the loss of privacy and security can increase the incidence of theft and loss of company secrets. A type of compromise between open plan and individual rooms is provided by the
cubicle A cubicle is a partially enclosed office workspace that is separated from neighboring workspaces by partitions that are usually tall. Its purpose is to isolate office workers and managers from the sights and noises of an open workspace so that ...

cubicle
desk A desk or bureau is a piece of with a flat -style work surface used in a school, , home or the like for academic, professional or domestic activities such as , , or using equipment such as a . Desks often have one or more , compartments, or pig ...

desk
, possibly made most famous by the ''
Dilbert ''Dilbert'' is an American comic strip A comic strip is a sequence of drawings, often cartoons A cartoon is a type of illustration An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, ...
'' cartoon series, which solves visual privacy to some extent, but often fails on acoustic separation and security. Most cubicles also require the occupant to sit with their back towards anyone who might be approaching; workers in walled offices almost always try to position their normal work seats and desks so that they can see someone entering, and in some instances, install tiny mirrors on things such as computer monitors.


Office buildings

While offices can be built in almost any location and in almost any building, some modern requirements for offices make this more difficult. These requirements can be both legal (''e.g. light levels must be sufficient'') or technical (''e.g. requirements for computer networking''). Alongside, other requirements such as security and flexibility of layout, has led to the creation of special
building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a ...

building
s which are dedicated only or primarily for use as offices. An office building, also known as an office block or business center is a form of
commercial building Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea.William J. Stanton. ''Fundamentals of Marketing' ...
which contains spaces mainly designed to be used for offices. The primary purpose of an office building is to provide a workplace and working environment primarily for administrative and managerial workers. These workers usually occupy set areas within the office building, and usually are provided with desks, PCs and other equipment they may need within these areas. An office building will be divided into sections for different companies or may be dedicated to one company. In either case, each company will typically have a reception area, one or several meeting rooms, singular or open-plan offices, as well as toilets. Many office buildings also have kitchen facilities and a staff room, where workers can have lunch or take a short break. Many office spaces are now also
serviced officeA serviced office is an office An office is generally a building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes ...
spaces, which means that those occupying a space or building can share facilities.


Office and retail rental rates

Rental rates for office and retail space are typically quoted in terms of money per floor-area–time, usually money per floor-area per year or month. For example, the rate for a particular property may be $29 per square-foot per year ($29/s.f/yr) - $290 per square-meter–year ($290/m2/a), and rates in the area could range $20–$50/s.f./yr ($200–$500/m2·a). In many countries, rent is typically paid monthly even if usually discussed in terms of years. Examples: * A particular 2,000 s.f. space is priced at $15/s.f./yr = (2,000 s.f.) × ($15/s.f./a) / (12 mo/yr) = $2500/month * A 200 m2 space priced at $150/m2·a = (200 m2) × ($150/m2·a) / (12 mo/a) = $2500/month In a ''gross lease'', the rate quoted is an all-inclusive rate. One pays a set amount of rent per time and the landlord is responsible for all other expenses such as costs of utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. The ''triple net'' lease is one in which the tenant is liable for a share of various expenses such as property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, climate control, repairs, janitorial services and landscaping. Office rents in the United States are still recovering from the high vacancy rates that occurred in the wake of the 2008 depression.


Grading

The
Building Owners and Managers Association The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA International), founded in 1907, is a professional organization for commercial real estate professionals based in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as t ...
(BOMA) classifies office space into three categories: Class A, Class B, and Class C. According to BOMA, Class A office buildings have the "most prestigious buildings competing for premier office users with rents above average for the area". BOMA states that Class A facilities have "high-quality standard finishes, state of the art systems, exceptional accessibility and a definite market presence". BOMA describes Class B office buildings as those that compete "for a wide range of users with rents in the average range for the area". BOMA states that Class B buildings have "adequate systems" and finishes that "are fair to good for the area", but that the buildings do not compete with Class A buildings for the same prices. According to BOMA Class C buildings are aimed towards "tenants requiring functional space at rents below the average for the area". The lack of specifics allows considerable room for "fudging" the boundaries of the categories. Oftentimes, the above categories are further modified by adding the plus or minus sign to create subclasses, such as Class A+ or Class B-.


See also

; Physical *
Business park A business park or office park is an area of land in which many office buildings are grouped together. The first office park opened in Mountain Brook, Alabama, in the early 1950s to avoid racial tension in city centers. Business parks are often ...
*
Corner office A corner office in Brea, California A corner office is an office An office is generally a building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory ...
*
Executive suite ''Executive Suite'' is a 1954 American Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer drama film directed by Robert Wise and written by Ernest Lehman, based on the novel of the same name by Cameron Hawley. The film stars William Holden, June Allyson, Barbara Stanwyck, Fre ...
*
Factory A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an Industry (manufacturing), industrial site, often a complex consisting of several buildings filled with Outline of industrial machinery, machinery, where workers manufacturing, manufactu ...

Factory
*
Office space planning Office space planning is the process of organizing furniture and office functions to work effectively together while using space efficiently. Consider the workgroup function the building codes and regulations, lighting, teaming requirements, inter ...
*
Office supplies Office supplies are consumables Consumables (also known as consumable goods, non-durable goods, or soft goods) are goods that are intended to be consumed. People have, for example, always consumed food and water. Consumables are in contrast to ...
*
Over-illumination Overillumination is the presence of lighting intensity higher than that which is appropriate for a specific activity. Overillumination was commonly ignored between 1950 and 1995, especially in office and retail environments.M.D. Simpson, '' ...
*
Steel building A steel building is a metal structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a s ...
s *
Warehouse A warehouse is a building for storing goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, an ...

Warehouse
; Soft issues *
Business attire Informal wear, also called business wear, corporate/office wear, tenue de ville and (colloquially) dress clothes, is a Western dress code Western dress codes are dress codes in Western culture about what clothes are worn for what occasion. Cla ...
*
Office management Office management is a profession involving the design, implementation, evaluation, and maintenance of the process of Wage labour, work within an office or other organization, in order to sustain and improve efficiency and productivity. Office ma ...
*
Office politics Workplace politics is the process and behavior that in human interactions involving power and authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interact ...
*
Sick building syndrome Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a condition in which people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or become infected with chronic disease from the building in which they work or reside. The outbreaks may or may not be a direct result of ina ...


References


Further reading

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External links


Early Office Museum
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