In recent years, there has been constant talk about ‘the death of the office’. As technology has developed, it has enabled more and more opportunities for people to work away from the office… however, questions remain about whether remote working is the best approach, or whether it can leave employee feeling out of touch.
Results from a recent report entitled Part-time work: The exclusion zone? highlighted that, when questioned, two-thirds of part-time workers said they felt isolated from their teams. What’s more, 59% felt they were missing out on networking opportunities and have lost connections.
As highlighted in an article on the Workplace Insight website, the conflict between remote working and being office-based was described in the work of Tom Allen from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In his latest book with co-author Gunter Henn, The Organization and Architecture of Innovation, it was found that far from reducing in importance, the office is gaining a more prominent role.
Allen and Henn also noted that physical proximity is an essential element in the development of working relationships, and in the way ideas and information flow. Additionally, earlier research on students at the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, showed that those who lived on the same floor typically had closer relationships with each other than those that lived on different floors.
These human elements seem to have been unaffected by the development of modern technology. They need to considered both in the design of our modern workspaces and in the way people are asked to work within them – or, indeed, away from them.