Interaction – a keyword in a modern office

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© Samsung
Do offices aimed at interpersonal interactions constitute a new standard or is it only a passing fad?

The conceptions of work have been changing kaleidoscopically together with a development of the market. People used to work in halls which were crowded and cramped like school classes at the tables which were set at considerable distances between each other, in small isolated booths, and then effective open areas were introduced and zones dedicated to various forms of work were divided. One could sit or stand at the desk, work without it, or work remotely from home. The current trend, which is becoming more and more popular, smoothly connects and transfers things which have been already devised in order to place the human and his interactions with other people in the center.

 

In Dolina Krzemowa, there will be at least few buildings and their complexes realized in the nearest future. The aim of the structures is to stimulate employees to mutual interactions through their architecture and interior design. The task which was realized by designers included creation of such a place of work which fulfils needs of employees and also induces them to certain way of functioning in the office society. Companies like Facebook, Samsung, Yahoo or Google, which are known from unconventional office solutions, intended many financial means and set their hopes on these projects.

 

The new headquarters of Facebook website will commission over 40 000 sq. m of usable area in spring this year. The new central office is said to be „one mile long room”. The author of the project is Frank Gehry. Moreover, the interior of the building will not be uniform. All doors, which will be maintained in open convention, will be mounted only to sanitary rooms. The project envisages some places which will enable work and relaxation in silence. Furthermore, Samsung has recently presented its plans concerning a new central office in USA, which was designed in contrast to its hierarchical structure. The vast external areas located between floors will encourage employees to find themselves in a public space and, as Samsung management would hope, interact with other workers. The most creative ideas do not originate from sitting in front of the screen – says vice-chairman in Scott Birnbaum company. The new building „is truly designed in order to enhance cooperation and arouse innovativeness which one may see while looking at people confronting with each other”. The similar strategy was chosen by Google. Its new campus was designed to maximize a chance of meeting. The other Americal portal – Yahoo, recalls the privileges of employees concerning remote working in order to increase the interaction between them. According to chairman in HR: some of the best decisions and observations come from corridor and café discussions.

 

However, the most important question is: what is the close relation between personal interactions, effectiveness and innovativeness?  

 

As researchers from Yale University observe – in spite of the fact that it is not possible to plan spontaneous interpersonal contacts, it is possible to create zones which certainly encourage to them. The research includes a certain company which moved some of its employees to a new office designed in such a way that there are as much as possible face to face meetings between workers. The fact that in the new building, in which a big buffet functions, café slot machines were placed in shared areas and conference halls were deprived of doors, resulted in a positive influence on the level of interactions, enhancing them by almost 20%. According to „Harvard Business Review”, the real growth in incomes which follows from random meetings with other employees improves the efficiency by even 20%. Certainly, such office politics has to harmonize with a character of a company. There are also some situations of failures concerning the introduction of such type of internal culture in a company.

 

However, we have to wait some time for long-term statistics of running offices which are open on relations. At present, we do not know much, although the perspectives are promising. Will we reach a new work standard or will we be only talking about one of the ways of running a company or simply a new trend in a particular moment? We do not know it now, but no matter how the answer will look like – many people are waiting for it.


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