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The New Office

Rethinking the old structures

Bachelorarbeit 2007 28 Seiten

BWL - Unternehmensführung, Management, Organisation


Table of Contents

Table of Figures



1.1 Motivation
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Research Question
1.4 Aim
1.5 Approach

2.1 The development of the new office
2.2 Old and new office cultures
2.3 The office as communication center
2.3.1 Informal communication
2.3.2 Formal communication
2.4 Design styles of offices
2.4.1 The Hive
2.4.2 The Den
2.4.3 The Cell
2.4.4 The Club
2.4.5 The combination office
2.5 Patterns of work
2.5.1 Desk Sharing
2.5.2 Tele Working
2.6 Furniture for new working styles

3.1 Psychological behavior effected by the office setting
3.2 Human response to stress
3.1 Matching the work setting to the individual
3.2 Ergonomics

4.1 Better occupancy of space
4.2 Office shape


List of References

Table of Figures

Fig. 1: Office styles

Fig. 2: Combination office

Fig. 3: Wall- system

Fig. 4: Bench- system

Fig. 5: Degree of space efficiency

Fig. 6: Traditional office shapes

Fig. 7: Innovative office design

Fig. 8: Working zones


The importance of designing effective structures of office workplaces is becoming a fundamental task in Facility Management. If the office design does not respond to the needs of the user, the workforce will never be as affective if it could be; the consequence is a loss of money for the company. At the moment there is a huge need for research in this field because many enterprises are forced to occupy to new structures and designs but still use old fashioned ways of working.

An office that is not adjustable to the individual needs of the worker causes dissatisfaction and less efficiency. If the workplace does not support the user by providing the appropriate environment and equipment, the workplace will hinder the employee instead of motivating him. As the influence of the effect of the office on the employees is still underestimated, the rethinking of the old structures forms the center of this work, as well as becoming aware of the coherencies between office features and the satisfaction of the user. The third chapter examines the psychological impacts of office design, such as human behavior and stress, besides the psychological, positive effect of ergonomic interior is mentioned.

How can the performance of the employee be motivated is the important question. If the employee feels able to meet his or her own decisions and bears more responsibility in the specific scope of duties the work environment becomes more relaxed and productive in general.

Often side effects like face-to-face internal communication are getting neglected and underestimated although they could be reached by improving the office shapes or utilizing Space Management. The crucial effect of such factors on business performance holds a lot of potential for improvement. With the corresponding furniture and equipment new styles of working become leading in the future, the old fashioned office types and types of working are getting replaced. Facility Management has the vital function to support this change in attitude towards work and make working more flexible by finding solutions in occupancy of space or office shape designs.


Die Arbeitsplatzgestaltung wird in Zukunft einen immer größeren Platz im Facility Management einnehmen, da ihre Auswirkungen den Erfolg des Unternehmens maßgeblich beeinflussen. Wenn die Gestaltung des Arbeitsplatzes nicht mit den Wünschen der Benutzer übereinstimmt, wird die Effektivität abnehmen da die Unzufriedenheit steigt. Als Konsequenz daraus verliert die Firma Geld und verschwendet wertvolle Zeit.

Zurzeit besteht großes Potential um sich mit dem Thema Arbeitsplatzgestaltung zu befassen da sich viele Unternehmen an die neuen Entwicklungen anpassen wollen oder müssen. Jedoch werden dabei oft zwar neue Büros gestaltet, aber alte Arbeitsweisen verwendet, dies ist natürlich nicht zielführend. Wenn der Arbeitsplatz den Benutzer durch falsche Ausstattung und Umgebung am Arbeiten hindert wirkt sich das sehr negativ auf die Motivation des Angestellten aus. Eine Büroumgebung die sich nicht auf die individuellen Wünsche des Benutzers einstellen lässt, bringt Unzufriedenheit mit der Arbeit und Einbußen in der Effektivität mit sich. Der Einfluss der Gestaltung des Arbeitsplatzes wird noch weitgehend unterschätzt. Der Zweck dieser Arbeit soll daher sein, die Zusammenhänge zwischen Arbeitsplatzkomponenten und Zufriedenheit bzw. Motivation des Arbeiters aufzuzeigen.

Der Arbeitende ist nicht mehr dazu gezwungen an einem bestimmten Ort, zu einer gewissen Zeit, von acht bis fünf Uhr zu arbeiten. Die Ausstattung eines modernen Arbeitsplatzes basiert auf einem Mobiltelefon, einem Computer und Internetanschluss. Dies wirkt auf den ersten Blick als vereinfachte Struktur, doch die Effektivität und der Erfolg sind von der Umsetzung abhängig. Der Nutzer fühlt sich durch die größere Verantwortung als wichtiger Teil in dem Unternehmen und trägt mit größerem Einsatz für den Erfolg der Firma bei.

Die interne Kommunikation wird vernachlässigt, obwohl sie wichtig für das Klima im Unternehmen selbst ist, Verbesserungen sind mit Aufwand durch geschickte Büroraumgestaltung leicht zu erzielen. Mit der passenden Möblierung und Ausstattung werden neue Arbeitsweisen in Zukunft führend eingesetzt, alte Strukturen werden weitgehend ersetzt. Facility Management hat dabei die wesentliche Aufgabe die Veränderungen mit Rücksicht auf die Nutzer erfolgreich einzuführen, sodass gemeinsames Arbeiten gewährleistet ist.


1.1 Motivation

Rethinking the consisting office structures and optimizing them is an important challenge for Facility Management. It is very important for the success of an enterprise how the workplace is structured. If the office design does not respond to the needs of the users, they will never be as motivated as they could be; as a consequence the company loses money. There is still a huge need for research because many companies are forced to occupy to new designs but still use old fashioned ways of working. Others take full advantage of the changes that are taking place by developing a new attitude towards work.

1.2 Problem Statement

If a workplace does not support the user by providing space, equipment and an appropriate environment to work in, the workplace will hinder the employee instead of motivating him. A not adjustable office to special needs of the individual causes dissatisfaction and a loss of efficiency. The influence of the effect of the workplace on the people is still underestimated as one can see at the example of workplaces that are overwhelmed with personal stuff, are totally wrong aligned and propose therefore no chance for undisturbed working. The scope of this work is to become aware of the coherencies between office features and the users and gain an overview about important factors of New Workplaces.

1.3 Research Question

“What are the new developments in office design and how can they be implemented?”

After reading this work the reader should have an understanding of the development in office design and working types, additionally the author gives a critical examination of the question and the results.

1.4 Aim

The purpose of this work is the explanation of factors in office building, which have a great impact on the user and what side effects should be taken under closer consideration for the managers. One big part forms the psychological factors and how the workers performance can be guided and improved. Technical aspects like air quality or lighting are neglected for the most part; instead the author concentrates on new ways of working, design styles of offices, the optimization of space and the human response to stress. At the end of the work the Facility Management tasks of better occupancy of space and office shape design are explained.

The outcome of this thesis is not the collection of all factors that are influencing the employee in its performance but the author sets a focus on what were the old ways of offices and which opportunities does the market offer now. What are new working styles and what has an organization to offer in order to introduce them efficiently? Which environmental factors are often underestimated or neglected, but bear great chances of contributing to the operating result? These questions are answered in this dissertation.

1.5 Approach

The information from scientific literature forms the basis of this research as well as the analysis of surveys on employees and statistics. Interviews with specialists were not part of the research; instead the extent of the work was the combination of the author’s knowledge, all relevant sources from literature, internationally accepted articles from magazines and internet sources. The second chapter deals with the structure and layout of offices and also the different patterns of work are a part of it. At the end of chapter two concepts of furniture are cited as examples for new trends.

The third chapter comprehends impacts on users of the office design. Issues like stress and ergonomics are examined. Furthermore the last chapter ends up with the Facility Management tasks in this context.


2.1 The development of the new office

“For Kafka the office was a nightmare- the physical manifestation of life-destroying bureaucracy. For the American painter Edward Hopper, the landscape of the office- bound city was the setting for a bitter commentary on the emptiness and melancholy of modern life. ”[1]

Why is worldwide such a negative view concerning office work and the people working in? The typical office, as we know it now, developed as a consequence of changes in the management. At the end of the nineteenth century it became necessary to keep control over the manufacturing and also the distribution of a company by handling enormous amounts of information. As a result the need for people editing information rose, which was at the beginning quite a dull and paper based task. Another motivation for the general depreciative perception of offices might be that during the first half of the twentieth century office workers were less qualified women. Their positive contribution to the enterprise was unrecognized and often a separate group of office workers apart from the rest of the employees established. The major reason why the importance of office work has been underestimated is that much of what office work generates is invisible, certainly to the outside, because information is not tangible. More than ever offices deal with knowledge and rapidly grow in significance.[2]

Lately management ideas are developing, willing to find different ways in office performance. Of course there emerged different streams especially from America, which gathered much innovation in the information technology sector. In Europe the old working habits are questioned and new ideas about the organizational structure become more explored.

2.2 Old and new office cultures

The differences between old and new designs are extensive, especially the physical aspects of the given features influence the way of working enormously. But also the human resource management experiences a change, that is expressed by the way the worker feels more connected to the company and the individual is no longer a number under many others but an important part of the enterprise. Conventional offices are accommodated for one person and this only from nine to five; the design is used to create borders between the functions and also the people. They assumed that paper work is the principal task of office work next to showing by an apparatus of physical signs how unimportant every individual is. Generally the hierarchy of the organization was primarily expressed by the individual space every person is supposed to use and which resources can be used together- team work was dispraised.[3]


[1] Duffy, Francis. (1999), p. 14

[2] cf. Duffy, Francis. (1999), p. 15

[3] cf. Duffy, Francis. (1999), p. 56


ISBN (eBook)
972 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Fachhochschule Kufstein Tirol




Titel: The New Office