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You should rethink everything if you cannot provide those people personal offices who absolutely must be at the office every day.

One thing you're probably doing wrong then is thinking that everyone should be physically there every day.

That's one thing I'm hoping to get out of this recession. The archaic notion that everyone must commute large distances, at great expense to themselves only to cram like fish in a can into a small expensive space called an "office" should get a rethink.

The central office should, hopefully, stop being the defacto standard for all employees and instead be used carefully for those who need the collaborative environment most, when they need it most. It should be set up explicitly to serve this purpose. At a certain population/productivity density, everyone going to the office every day might be economically unsustainable.

Unfortunately, the places I've worked have taught me that some older folks are going to need to retire before we can get past the notion that any time spent not physically at the office is vacation.

I think that view kind of misses the point that some professions are not solitary like programming.

I work from home (I'm a technologist), and love it that way. I can do great work by myself, without much input. But I've seen architects at work, and the majority of their work is collaborative, discussing ideas, coming up with new ideas, etc.

Designing a building draws together a lot of creativity applied at all levels, from the door handles to the shape of the building, and a major difficulty is to coordinate all this to keep the building looking like it was designed as a whole, rather than have all sorts of different styles mixing with each other.

Until architecture becomes a solitary activity (unlikely for all but the smallest buildings, for quite some time), central office spaces will remain a necessity there. This is probably the case for numerous other professions. There's no "one size fits all" work-from-home solution, not yet anyway.

The trouble is, if you're unmotivated and your results aren't visible, time spent out of the office usually is vacation.

The solution to that is to not hire unmotivated, invisible workers, I'd say....

Thoroughly agree!

Interestingly, the design of "The Bench" takes into consideration that everyone is not physically there every day. They can be away due to holiday, sickness, or even because they are having meetings in a room round the corner. And when that happens, the "legless" nature of the desk means you feel that you've got more space that you really have got. It's like the architectural trick we use often to make a space feel more generous by increasing the floor-to-ceiling height. Here, we are trying to maximise the benefit of absences to make your perceived desk space more generous.

During our 9 months experiment, this is perhaps biggest benefit that we felt.

i agree in many terms. One of the largest bank in the us, for instance, builds office buildings in the north and south of the city, just to provide office space and a shorter way to work to their employees. Taking this honorable efforts into account - it might make sense to provide them with HOME OFFICE equipment instead?!

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