Adam Taylor's Blog

The Makeup of a Modern Office

on 17 Jan 2012 11:44 | Viewed 481 times

One of the most important things in a business is the environment employees work in. For many, the office becomes a home-from-home and, as such, should project a comfortable atmosphere, while providing everything that workers need to properly undertake the responsibilities of their role. There are also certain commitments that employers have to providing premises that are safe, secure and fit for purpose. In addition, there are theories that employees are more motivated when placed in surroundings with certain features. So what does a modern office look like? Here are some of the things you can expect to find when you walk into a typical work setting:

Layout

Gone are the days where workers are huddled away in darkened rooms, separated from management and each other – the modern office embraces an open-plan layout. This promotes communication and openness. When privacy is required, meeting rooms, which are often located at the edges of the main workspace, can be used. Some high-level executives may opt for or require a permanent separate office, for confidential meetings and phone calls, but in order to keep a sense of transparency (literally), floor-to-ceiling windows are often used instead of walls.

Location

With city-centre space at a premium, many offices have now moved to purpose-built business parks or complexes just out of town, such as Leeds Valley Park. As such, they will often provide free parking – or even a free bus service – to help workers get to their desks on time for the minimum cost.

Technology

The Internet is an absolute must in every office nowadays. High-speed broadband allows workers to get the job done, with the resources of the web at their fingertips. Phone systems allow people to contact customers, clients and other businesses, as well as any other rooms in the office or building which they may need to speak to. Printers, faxes, scanners and copy machines all still feature, but there may be more high-tech equipment at hand too, such as video conferencing suites.

Recreation

Modern companies are very attuned to the fact that to get their employees to work at their best, they must give them time to relax and opportunity to take a break. Many modern offices have recreation areas, which allow workers to head off from their desks, kick back and relax. This could include anything from radios to plasma screen TVs, with some employers even opting to provide games consoles and telephones for personal calls in the break areas.

Catering

With the average working day lasting around eight hours, it's a simple fact that office workers must eat. The days of the 11 o'clock tea trolley are largely gone. Big companies may have a staff canteen, serving meals throughout the day, often at a discounted price. Others opt for self-catering choices – small kitchen facilities that allow employees to make their meals themselves. On top of that, you can often find vending machines holding a variety of snacks, to allow workers to treat themselves.

Health and wellbeing

There is no escaping the fact that work can be stressful, and that the pace of our busy lives can leave us struggling to take time to look after ourselves. Modern offices now often include features to help with our health and wellbeing. More and more offices include gym areas, making exercise at lunch or after work easier. Some offices now offer 'quiet' rooms – somewhere employees can go to switch off and take some time out. Services such as visiting masseurs may also be on offer, to try and help employees unwind so they can perform at their best.


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