• The death of the desk in the modern office

        • Patrick Stennett, Head of Interiors at Commercial Group discusses how the the ‘death of the desk’ in the office could unlock better productivity, creativity, and collaboration as well as how barriers to this newer way of working might be managed and overcome.

          ‘Monday to Friday, 9-to-5’ is now an archaic concept for many organisations. The digital age has spurred a rapid evolution in how, when and where people work. Catching up with emails at home over breakfast or dialling in to a meeting remotely have become standard practice. There is a growing appetite for, and acceptance of, more agile working.

          What does this mean for the office? Progressive employers are beginning to question the effectiveness of high density open-plan layouts. As technologies enabling remote working become more advanced, the one-desk-per-employee ratio becomes less relevant. What’s more, while open-plan offices were intended to foster collaboration and transparency, many find them oppressive and disruptive. Research has shown they also have a negative impact on employee wellbeing and productivity.

          One size doesn’t fit all

          The question is not so much whether to go for open-plan or closed-plan, as how to create an environment that fosters essential employee attributes. Clearly, employee wellbeing is always a top priority. But factors such as creativity, collaboration and productivity may vary between industries and individual job roles.

          The best way to determine baseline office requirements is to audit employee behaviour. Monitor activity over a typical day or week, taking note of factors such as: the number of people in the office at a given time, how much focused desk work takes place, the number of formal meetings or informal group discussions, time spent communicating with colleagues or customers on the phone or via Skype.

          Most office workers fall into one of four categories:

          Architects work collaboratively in groups. While they may not need a personal desk, they do require tailored work zones.

          Planners are highly mobile, working collaboratively across multiple disciplines on a project basis.

          Nomads can work anywhere via mobile technology, but come to the office to connect with people and maintain visibility.

          Residents are task and process driven. They require dedicated work stations with personal storage and fixed equipment.

          Understanding and segmenting the workforce in this way provides a cornerstone for an effective office environment. People’s needs vary, so it’s important to create spaces that energise and inspire different types of worker.

          The living office

          As more millennials join the workforce, and technologies continue to evolve, the concept of a dedicated personal desk becomes less relevant.

          The challenge for employers is providing an effective mix of workspace types, with the flexibility to adapt over time. A balance needs to be struck between the needs of ‘my space’ workers who are more comfortable and productive with a dedicated desk and ‘our place’ workers who prefer to switch between work zones. Catering to these needs is essential to attract and retain the best employees, maximise their wellbeing and boost organisational performance.   

          The desk is not dead. But it does need to be culled to make room for different types of workspace that foster creativity, efficiency and productivity in the digital age.


        • Stay up to date - Click here and register for FREE OEN online membership and enjoy unlimited access to a host of benefits including the exclusive members area of the website, downloadable business tools, current and back issues archive, priority breaking news alerts, weekly e news summary and the OEN app

        • Related Articles

        • Financial services and utilities industries lead investment trend in collaboration tools

          Financial services and utilities industries lead investment trend in collaboration tools

          Monday 8th Mar 2021 by clareb
          Almost 60 per cent of business leaders in sectors including Financial Services, IT and Digital, Hospitality and Telecommunications are readying for hybrid-working becoming the long-term norm and expect investment in audio equipment to increase over t...Read More...
          Making school safety a priority with smart technology

          Making school safety a priority with smart technology

          Tuesday 23rd Feb 2021 by clareb
          With pupils set to go back to school on 8th March, there are a number of safety measures schools need to implement to ensure the health and wellness of the staff, students and school communities.  The first lockdown and closure of schools broug...Read More...
          Omnichannel contact centre needs further transformation post-pandemic

          Omnichannel contact centre needs further transformation post-pandemic

          Tuesday 23rd Feb 2021 by clareb
          For organisations operating contact centres, now is the time to plan for a more settled future where consumer and worker habits are permanently changed from how they were before. This is according to TelcoSwitch, a provider of unified communications ...Read More...
                • About Us

                  OEN is the leading source of business news and information for buyers of office equipment, supplies and services within mid tier and up sized organisations. Our multi-platform approach delivers relevant, engaging and focussed content via our main printed magazine, bespoke guides and supplements, website, digital editions, apps, and newsletters with an unrivalled reach across the industry. A highly trusted and respected brand for many years, the print version of OEN last year celebrated its Diamond anniversary.

                  For our latest Media packs and more details on our range of services click here

                • View Latest Issue