It’s pretty obvious that the way we work is changing. Nowadays � the office is that nice comfy chair in Starbucks. With the advent of ‚mobile‛ technologies our office space followed suit and became mobile too. So now you see a ‚wireless hotspot‛ sign on the menu at the local coffee shop ‌ it’s not just the latte and cappuccino they are selling. (But those still remain very tasty indeed.)
I’ve found this very nice little coffee chain in London which makes an excellent coffee and a very nice chocolate croissant! Every morning I pop in for my fix � and the place is crammed ‌ with suits and laptops. There is a group of chaps that huddle round the table every morning and conduct their business meeting. But this is nothing new and while that option still remains increasingly popular, tucked away in the heart of Soho is another growing trend ‌ eOffice.

Serviced office space is not a new concept (think Regis Group). But eOffice ( is just that ‌ an E office. The old ideas of corporate office space have changed and EOffice is catering to a new market. I met up with the founder, Pier Mucelli, for a chat. I was intrigued â€? I mean if everyone was doing business at the cafe across the road then what gap in the market was eOffice filling? A large one apparently. eOffice has a bit of everything really. You can choose to use the office fulltime with a serviced workstation. Just rock up with your laptop and voila ‌ everything is ready to go. Flexible working space for entrepreneurial business: so hotdesking and ‚virtual office‛ are two key offerings. Pier and I spoke about the whole ‚open office‛ concept â€? especially with so many different businesses in the same space. He said that there is a big emphasis on networking in our current business culture and this is what influenced not only the concept but also the design. This kind of work space encourages people to share their knowledge and connect. The design is geared up to get people talking. I had a walk around the office … and a bunch of people were huddled in front of the plasma screen TV watching a news show. (None of them work for the same company by the way.) Pier tells me that a lot of their clients have ended up collaborating.
What really struck me though is how nice the office was. It was trendy. Comfortable chairs, ergonomic everything, funky art on the walls, a fresh flower (think the VW Beetle feature) at every desk, temperature adjustments to suit your mood, every type of electronic convenience and a huge fish tank are just a few features. Everything looked shiny and new and from all the people I spoke with, this was a huge draw card. They didn’t want to be doing business in some of the run-down locations that are on offer. If you have a client meeting what image do you want to project?
I’ve been chatting to a few friends about this recently and it’s seems to be increasingly important. After all, you spend a huge chunk of your time at work, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable to want to work in a ‚nice‛ environment. (Maybe that’s why the coffee shop has become so popular: the wafting smells of fresh coffee, the ‚home-away-from-home‛ d�cor.) One friend of mine commented rather strongly on this. He had joined a new company and part of the attraction had been the location and the very nice, new office space. While working there he was seconded onto a joint venture project and moved to another company’s office ‌ which he described as outdated, dull and depressing. (This happened to be a rather large SA bank actually.) He said that he wouldn’t want to have to work there permanently as he found it so depressing. This got me thinking � how important is our work environment? And how far does it go towards contributing to a stimulating and conducive channel to harness the talent in an organisation? And how far does it go in attracting the BYT’s?
Sure, it’s not the only consideration when choosing a job. But, if you had two offers, both equal in most respects ‌ but one office was bright and airy and attractive and the other office was old, worn and dull � which one would you choose?
I read a great article from The Wall Street Journal online about a company in the states that ‚test drove‛ their new office space. (< a xhref=‛‛ target=‛new‛>Click here for the full article.)
But to give you the crux of the conversation ‌
For over a century, experiments on workplace design have shown that layout and lighting have profound effects on productivity. But many real-estate managers focus instead on squeezing bodies into ever-shrinking cubicles, hoping to keep costs down. “Office space is the most squandered resource in the modern economy,” says Frank Duffy, a co-founder of DEGW, a London company that does design studies for companies, including RadioShack. Now, as the economy expands, competition and outsourcing demand that businesses be creative about how they house their most-expensive workers. Some, such as Office Depot Inc. and FMR Corp.’s Fidelity Investments, along with the U.S. General Services Administration, have devoted major resources to researching office environments through focus groups, by mining human-resources data and observing work behavior in different office layouts. But few have been as ambitious as RadioShack and its mock office.
Anyway, I’m not suggesting that every company (big and small) should rush out and start spending a lot of money on revamping their office space. I am saying that it’s something that should be a consideration. I believe that your image (and that includes everything from your brand to your office space) reflects or projects an idea and a concept. I think companies can better use that space not only to attract and retain BYT’s but also to provide stimulating experiences that encourage better communication and productivity.
So are you designed for life ‌ or designing for LIFE?

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