Defining the Modern Concept of an Office

February 16, 2016 | Jennifer Goodwyn

The word “office” means different things to different people. To some, an office is just a small room in a building with a desk, a phone, and a computer. To others, an office is a spare room in their home where they keep their laptop. Regardless, it's important to realize that the idea of what an office is has expanded over the last few decades. Technological innovations have enabled people to collaborate on projects, attend meetings, and even create complex presentations all from their cellphones. More and more, people are working remotely, from home offices to coffee shops.

An office is simply a place for you to do your work. As time goes on, people are learning that it's not always necessary for that place to be in a huge office building. It doesn't always have to be at the end of a long and unpleasant commute. The place you do your work at can be 10 feet away in the other room or it might be at the Starbucks down the street. Reconsidering what an office means for you and your business can help you work more efficiently and save money.

The Traditional Office

There are several important benefits to working in a traditional office. The value of working face-to-face with coworkers, managers, and clients can never be understated. Although technology helps us stay connected, even to collaborate on projects wherever we are, it can't replicate the way people work together in person. Some other benefits of working in a traditional office setting include access to an in-house IT department when problems occur, administrative assistants to help you acquire the necessary office supplies, meeting rooms, and a professional address/phone number. This type of office has been the standard for businesses for a long time and will likely continue to be.

Home Offices

Home offices offer many advantages. Working from home eliminates the need for long and unpleasant commutes which lowers stress, saves money, and contributes to a healthier work/life balance. An added bonus is that eliminating commutes is good for the environment, too. Employees with home offices can also help businesses save money on the cost of purchasing and maintaining a centralized location. Additionally, remote workers help businesses hire the best talent wherever they find it without having to pay the additional costs associated with relocating talent. The main disadvantage to working from a home office are the increased reliance on and responsibility for the technology that makes it possible.

Virtual Offices

Another type of office which is growing in popularity is the virtual office. Virtual offices provide many of the key advantages of having a centralized office location at a reduced cost. Businesses or individuals simply pay a monthly fee, and they can receive IT support, access to an administrative assistant, a prestigious address and phone number, and several other advantages. Making use of a virtual office is a great way for small businesses and startups to focus their resources on growth. Virtual offices also provide freelancers and other independent contractors a way to benefit from a professional infrastructure without having to incur heavy costs.

Co-Working Spaces

Co-working spaces are a popular office type among new businesses, startups, and freelancers. Co-working spaces provide the opportunity to comfortably work on your own schedule in a setting with all the amenities you require: internet, tables and chairs, printers, phones, and other necessary office equipment. If you're based out of a metropolitan area, co-working spaces are generally a much more cost-effective way to get your work done, especially when compared to renting or leasing a traditional office space.