Written by Elizabeth Nelson, PhD | Amsterdam
on February 20, 2016

We’ve all seen changes to modernize workspaces. But these transformations are sometimes filling our social media stream while not surrounding our work environment. Here are 5 reasons the traditional office sucks and some interesting alternatives.

 1. Rigid 

The corporate office has a long history of formality that wears on the nerves. And while the thought of pool tables and video games can frighten corporate traditionalists, there is proof to support a gamified office. Silicon Valley has embraced the playful nature of work and work environments. Google for example, has slides in its offices. Some say this trend is a rejection of hierarchies that has changed the employer-employee relationship. However, playful offices have proven to foster stronger company cultures and heighten engagement.

Transforming workplaces fun offices

2. Inflexible

Researchers have found many problems with designated workspaces. Besides the obvious limitations of being assigned a seat, there seems to be a sort of seat roulette. Studies have shown that the further you sit from your boss, the more likely you will be to ask for a raise or promotion. Sitting next to or close to your boss was the most likely position to be given bad reviews or even fired. Flexibility has gotten a lot of attention recently as the new option for office space. This allows adaptability for both employees wanting to work in a different way and offices dealing with fluctuating capacity. Rather than having assigned desks, employees can reserve an area depending on their current projects. Companies are also motivated by research showing that offering collaborative and flexible working environments gives a greater chance of attracting and retaining the best talent.

3. Uncomfortable

If sitting next to your boss in a stuffy corporate office isn’t bad enough, it turns out sitting at that desk is incredibly bad for your body. Blood flow, spine alignment, muscle degeneration, strained neck and shoulders, raised cancer risks and heart disease are just some of the psychical implications of sitting at a desk. Some experts have called sitting the new smoking and after the list above it’s hard to argue.

4. Distracting

Open floorplans are by no means new. In fact, it seems like companies are debating how to tackle the “open problem”. While open spaces have proven to encourage communication and teamwork, they also have proven disruptive and hinder productivity. It can take an individual up to 23 minutes to get into a task, while office distractions occur, on average, every 4 minutes. Many workspaces are working on giving employees a mix of both private and collaborative spaces.

5. Unnecessary

Work is no longer silo based and by default becoming more and more global. The emergence of result-based work has made work neither place nor time dependent. Innovative companies are choosing to reduce costs by not upsizing but rather appointing hybrid employees. These employees combine working in the office with working remotely. At many firms this is a flexible time distribution, however some employers have approved a regular schedule of working remotely x days per week and in the office x days per week.

So while the future of workspace is unclear the evidence points to a bright future!


Interested in knowing about a new way of working? 

Check out E-ployment - Living and working in the cloud.

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