For a country with a high dependence on service industries an office environment is where many people spend most of their working life in the UK. Although budgets play a large part in deciding how, where and what offices are, there are many other aspects of an organisation which dictate what an office environment is ‘like’ physically, and what employees experience there.
Within the Solid Structures
The human elements and the actual business / the work at hand take place against a physical backdrop which is dictated to large extent by the nature of the work itself e.g. where there is a lot of talking and noise but individuals need quiet to talk and listen on phones then there is likely to be the use of folding partition or barriers which offer sound insulation.
Many office buildings have a mixture of larger spaces with smaller individual offices around the outside of the office. These ‘solid’ offices can help with specific functions but can also be related to levels of hierarchy within the office e.g. having an office may go with a high-ranking job and may be a status symbol.
The Symbolic Office
It could be argued that by developing a more open, transparent, light and aesthetically pleasing office space the organisation is providing a physical symbol of its attitude to its staff, its values in general, and its views on communication within the company and to the outside world.
The Flexible Office
The use of office partitions and particularly glass office partitions bring a huge amount of flexibility to a business, can create a positive and pleasant environment which feels more open, and can improve communications of all kinds within the company. For example high quality glass partitions can:
- Allow more light to be distributed around the office despite physical separation of certain areas.
- Allow greater visual communications which could benefit the business.
- Present a pleasant and modern appearance which strengthens the company brand and image, and improves morale.
- Make a single space something that can be open or private depending on the needs of the situation e.g. by using blinds with the glass.
Other Flexible Options
Office partitions can take many forms thanks to the use of modern materials and finishes. Folding and sliding structures can be used. Also the ‘solid’ versions of partitions can be made to a variety of heights with a variety of glazing and finishing options. Panels and supporting frames for partitions can be coated and coloured to suit the company’s requirements. Glass partitions can also incorporate pictures, designs, logos and words through the use of film on the glass.