Office Concept

Four approaches that constitute Office Useware Management

Every office should be more than merely the realization of a concept. It needs to be designed so that it can continuously respond to diverse needs over time, such as environmental considerations, social contributions, and the work-life balance. And of course, the cost of implementation has to be kept low. The key to the success of a project is to pursue economic rationality and accurately understand the overall picture of the office.

Four approaches that constitute Office Useware Management

(1) Approach for identifying the purposes of managers and users

In the process of designing an office, sometimes usability and users' needs are somewhat overlooked due to "the management's logic" or "the designer's preconceived ideas." Needless to say, the design of an office should allow efficient execution of business tasks while keeping the cost as low as possible. However, to enable workers to work in a style suitable to our "knowledge society, " offices need to create an environment that encourages and promotes such a "style of working."

(2) Approach for pinpointing economic rationality between people and the environment

Today our idea of office design is shifting from the "hardware-driven" approach to the idea of "kotozukuri (the art of storytelling), which is concerned with how to provide a user-friendly, effective environment. Considering the variety of software, systems, and administration/business strategies in place, we need to establish the optimal relationship between people and their environment. Given that the goal of a company is profit, naturally economic rationality must also be taken into account when building this relationship.

(3) Design approach for actualizing the purposes

We recognize five criteria for evaluating the function of an office and we believe every office should be designed based on these criteria. The criteria are safety, comfort, convenience, durability and effectiveness. They are not always aligned along the same vector; "safety" and "convenience," for instance, may sometimes have the opposite vector. They could also mean different things to management and to workers, and also to each individual worker. Since office designing entails a complex mixture of various factors, we need to achieve an ideal office for the whole while paying attention to optimal designs at the level of the individual.

(4) Operation/construction approach for pursuing economic rationality

We sometimes see discrepancies between how a certain function was intended and how it is actually being used. For example, a refreshment area is not being utilized or open workstations for shared use have turned into assigned seats. These cases suggest that we need to check whether the administrators and designers of such offices had actually considered the "convenience" and "comfort" of users based on an understanding of the users' true needs and their definition of usability. In some cases, these discrepancies arise because the designer's intentions are not fully understood by the user. It is essential to establish a mechanism of management and operation that ensures office functions are used as intended after office construction is complete.