“Most employees do not need any desk and chair of their own.”
You come to work in the morning - without any chair of your own waiting for you. You hang your coat in the wardrobe in the hall and change your shoes and then think what you should do that day. Depending on what you want to do, you either go to the shared office, a separate cubicle, a separate room or the café. This could be a picture of Czech offices in a few years. “Most employees do not need any desk and chair of their own,” says Bert Hesselink, Operations Director at CBRE Czech Republic, a leading global commercial real estate advisor currently organizing the Conference Room of the Year, which has already been covered on Forbes.cz . “Most things on our desks are useless anyway,” he adds. Do you think it is strange? You are not the only one. Look at the offices that Hesselink recommends to companies in the Czech Republic.
Without a table of your own
Most employees do not need a fixed place to sit every day. CBRE rearranged its offices at náměstí Republiky in Prague according to this philosophy a year ago. The company divided its offices into several zones, where every morning employees can chose whether they want to work separately or in the open office space shared with their colleagues. What to do with the papers and other belongings you normally have on your desk? “Eventually, you realize that you do not need much. You think twice before you print anything,” says Hesselink.
The end of open space
Czech offices have gone through several development stages. Private offices prevailed in the 1990s. When foreign companies started coming to the Czech Republic after 2000, open plan offices were the most sought-after concept. According to Bert Hesselink, today’s office space is something in between. Companies need a shared office accompanied by smaller dedicated rooms. The reason is that the content of the work we do has changed over the years. In the past, an office was a place where only work was done. Today it is a place where people meet each other - either colleagues or customers, and the space must meet the needs stemming from this new idea.
Modern offices should include various types of rooms. In addition to a large open space, CBRE has so-called ‘compartments’ where you are still together but separated by a partition so that the others do not disturb you much. If you need to concentrate, you can go to a focus room and close the door behind you. Private calls are made from telephone booths. You can sit and talk to your colleagues at workbenches – small islands for 6 to 10 people, which are said to be the best places for brainstorming. Alternatively, you can go to the café and work there. The spaces are purposefully created in a manner allowing people from different departments to meet as if by coincidence. They start talking spontaneously and they may come up with something they would not hit on otherwise. The large modern kitchen where you can eat comfortably and meet people informally is also very important.
No lazing around
Lots of companies try to include a relaxation room in their concepts. “We have nothing like this. And do you know why? It turned out that nobody was using the room,” says Hesselink. The most frequent mistake is that this room is near the manager’s office. “You simply won’t go there. And if you do go there, your colleagues will think you are a slacker,” adds Hesselink. Czechs are still afraid of relaxing at work although this is likely to change gradually.
Goodbye home office
A few years ago it seemed that offices would soon die out. More and more companies had employees working from home. Then it turned out that home office on a large scale is not a good solution. “You simply must go to work. You must meet your colleagues, make arrangements with your line managers - it doesn’t work without this. For example, Yahoo cancelled home offices completely. In addition, they found that pure home office doesn’t motivate employees at all. On the other hand, employees appreciate flexibility - the possibility to work from home when it’s necessary for them,” adds Bert Hesselink.
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