Today’s office space is more functional and productive and adapts better to the way a human being interacts and socializes. The term, collaborative workspace, has emerged gradually and, today, we can affirm that this new concept allows for the full expression of the human dimension.
Through the centuries, we have experienced huge changes in the workspace. These changes responded mainly to three needs–the achievement of greater productivity, the changes in the ways we communicate and more timely access to information.
It is amazing how workspace has evolved and adapted throughout history. Beginning in the Middle Ages, the most common form of working space was the scriptorium; a place for total concentration and isolation dedicated to intellectual production. Through the Renaissance, the first introduction of the worktable satisfied the needs of traders for accounting, drafting, contractors, engineers, and artists. In the 19th century, the working space had to incorporate transformational innovations, such as the telephone, typewriter, telegraph and electric lighting. It also had to adapt to the new means of communication, such as the railway, which allowed administrative activities and management of the company being located outside of the production site. One great example of this time is the Larkin Administration building, designed in 1904 by Frank Lloyd Wright. This building was the first designed specifically for an organization that needed to accommodate more than 1,800 workers. Furthermore, the design included some new innovations, such as the rolling chair and walls and furniture acoustic absorbent.
In the 1960s, the service economy exploded, along with the development of the computer business. Spaces that were once strictly hierarchical and rigid could now prove to be motivating for employees. The company, Herman Miller, set up the “Action Office Series 1,” which included the first offices consisting of panels. This was the first step towards the creation of a work environment that aimed to foster interaction amongst employees.
In 1974, Herman Hertzberger conceived the concept of “village worker,” a flexible small workplace for a maximum of 10 people that could be customized by the user. The idea was to provide a feeling of being part of a working community without being lost in the crowd.
The introduction of the Internet has shifted the way we perceive the world and consolidated a brand new paradigm. Today, we have a new generation of workers in need of a pleasant and informal design–a more humanized workspace. The main design trend today is dedicated to foster creativity and collaboration. We find sofas and trees, as well as many more other items that promote interaction and serendipity, in informal open-plan spaces for meetings and for socializing.
Locally, Ron McElroy, CEO of Real Office Centers (ROC), a passionate expert about the evolution of the workplace, saw the lack of alternative office space in Orange County. His idea is to offer more than just real estate. He believes the offer should include social, monetary and green capital. Living a sustainable life should translate into positive and self-propelling business opportunities. We have evolved from a rational and functional design, where employees were arranged in line and windows were placed above them to promote isolation and concentration, to a leaner design that allows for worker’s mobility, conversation and collaboration. McElroy recognizes the social nature of human beings and believes that social nature needs to be incorporated in the entire scope of our lives. At ROC, socialization is encouraged through different initiatives, such as the sharing of lounge areas, where weekly happy hours include rotating kegs of local brews or where business seminars and events take place, all with the support of a friendly staff.
ROC offers collaborative work spaces, private offices, event locations, as well as co-working for companies in their first stages all the way up to Fortune 500 companies. ROC facilitates companies working together by providing advanced technologies and open working spaces and motivates the learning process by providing better workers’ mobility that encourages communication and, consequently, propels growth.
ROC Newport Beach can offer different space sizes, both private or collaborative work space, in key locations in the heart of the city; 23 Corporate Plaza Drive, Suites 100/150, 110 & 120 Newport Center Drive, or at 18662 McArthur Blvd, Suite 200. For more information, go to RealOfficeCenters.com or call 949.432.3050.