It is reasonable that an office of any company receives a great number of widely different people - employees, visitors, messengers, etc. These people have different and sometimes totally opposite objectives, tasks and scopes of activity. There is a method of functional zoning; it makes sure that operation of the whole office is not suspended when a next visitor comes in, working processes do not intersect and every person, whether it is an employee or a guest, has a clear idea of what he needs and where he should address his/her need.

In simple terms, functional zoning is dividing the premise area into zones with various functional purposes.

There are multiple ways to arrange functional zones and they are different for every office type. For example, zoning of a classic type office can be made through simple fastening of plaques indicating the functions on office doors, while in case of OpenSpace offices a method of visual zoning is frequently used – it implies a colour scheme or appropriate grouping and placement of furniture. There are dozens of options... The most important thing is to set the number of those zones.  

Needless to say that functions performed by an office premise directly depend on a company’s scope of activity. However, there are some certain general points of coincidence that provide the basis for any office design.

There are 2 main functional zones in an office – a front-office and a back-office. 

The front-office serves a representative function and it is more meant for potential clients and partners. Roughly said, these are all the premises to be demonstrated to a visitor. The front-office is imposed with an image-building and a presentation function; therefore rooms here are often made in a single design sense using a great number of corporate markings. Premises rendered suitable for the front-office are featured with atmosphere of dearness and presentability – expensive and classy furniture, various decoration elements, etc. 

The premises related to the front-office include a lobby, a reception area, a waiting room, meeting rooms and sometimes a company executive’s office.

Functional division of premises into the lobby, the reception area and the waiting room is pretty much tentative in this modern world. Most often a visitor gets immediately into a spacious premise with a reception desk and cushioned furniture for waiting.

The word “reception” has several meanings in English: an admission, a desk, a registry. A reception room is the company's image in any office - it should be vividly memorized by any visitor and should impose a desire to revisit the office. Therefore, the specialists of IND Office set much on individualization of the reception area and are constantly in pursuit of new out-of-the-box solutions. 

A meeting room can serve several functions depending on activities and the size of a company: e.g. it can be a small room for meetings with clients or a big hall suitable both for meetings with external partners and various internal personnel events. A meeting room design method is custom-oriented all the time. However, the corporate approach is frequently used here too – markings, colour schemes, comfortable furniture, etc.

The office of a company executive is the second most important premise that works upon delivered impression. Guests should see here both the beauty of office decoration and feel a company’s stability and success. Among other aspects, the office should be also as much comfortable as possible for the very company executive. More often than not, the office of a company executive compares favourably with other front-office premises due to equipment, materials used and design.

The back-office generally includes all the premises anyhow involved in everyday internal processes of a company, i.e. workplaces of employees, libraries, rest-rooms, canteens, archive premises, server rooms and so on and so forth. 

«A fact: if an employee spends 20 minutes a day walking from his/her workplace to a cabinet and back again, it means that he/she spends 82 hours or 2 full work weeks a year just on walking. And to think that this time can be used for a useful work, if an office is zoned up properly...» -  Boris Shaht, «Orgspace Consulting» Company Director.

Until quite recently (5 years ago) the back-office was considered to be the least expensive part of an office – it was arranged using cheap materials, design was rather modest, furniture was frequently poor in quality… Employees stayed in austere circumstances every day. Simply said, it was a general believe that the main customer acquisition and company promotion activities were done by the front-office. The trend has changed nowadays towards optimization of all working processes meant to enhance a company’s status and working capacity of its staff. Brought to the fore now is individuality which actually implies every single employee.

There is no need to review every front-office premise separately, since work area design techniques are generally client-oriented. We just note one thing – if a chief establishes a goal to, inter alia, develop a company in the way of team spirit and unity, the activities in the field of functional zoning and careful crafting of office design are vital both for a chief and employees and as a consequence - for clients and partners.

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