What is your Office Maturity Level (OML)?

This week I would like to provide you with an instrument to determine your Office Maturity Level (OML).

No office
‘No Office” could also be maturity level 9.
When you have no office, you have maximum flexibility.
Yesterday I was talking via Skype about a new business opportunity with some potential partners. One in Oslo, one in Antwerp and I was in my dacha in Vlissingen. The call ended at 5 pm and we were immediately home. “No Office” is also very sustainable. You can always camp at the office of a client, or in a Starbucks in the center of town.

The villa
• Quiet
• Big rooms
• Often in suburban areas
• Parking for a couple of cars
• Joint lunch in the big kitchen
A long time ago I worked six month in a villa, for a recruitment agency. The rooms were very nice. We always had lunch together in the cellar. Most people liked it, for me it was to cozy and I felt locked up.

Traditional
• Big office building
• Reception on ground floor
• Special parking area for senior staff
• Corner offices for senior staff
• Low flexibility
• Restaurant on ground floor
• Special lunch room on top floor
The building above was Philips Electronics building SFF in Eindhoven. My office was on the 10th floor, the top floor. The president of the Consumer Electronics division had four rooms. A working room, a small meeting room, a big meeting room and a room for his secretary. There was also a kitchen. The cook always prepared very nice lunches for the president and his guests. They left the smell for us, the corporate staff.

The Cubicle
• Widely spread in US
• Small offices for everyone!
• You cannot see your colleagues when you sit
• Ideal for somewhat autistic people
When I worked in Chicago, I had my own cubicle. My neighbours arrived in the morning with the snow booths, coffee and hot breakfast. They took off their snow booths, put on a normal pair of shoes they had taken in their rucksack, and they ate their breakfast in silence. When I walked around and tried to speak to my colleagues in their cubicles, they looked weary at the strange Dutchman. You were supposed to stay in your cubicle, unless you had a meeting with the boss in her corner office.

Open space
• No more walls
• Transparent
• Meeting rooms and telephone cells
• Difficult to reduce the noise
• Easy to approach a colleague
• High flexibility
• “Casual collisions” in the context of the office
• Ideal for extroverts
Once I visited the Microsoft office in Amsterdam. A very nice coffee corner on the ground floor. 300 working places for 800 employees. If you had no meeting, you better work out of home. Nobody had a personal working space, and camping was not allowed. Camping: you arrive early, and park your jacket, notebook and laptop at a nice place. Then you go to your three-hour meeting, knowing that your prime spot is secured.

Homely office
• The office is your second home
• Healthy food provided
• Fun elements
• One employer office
• Working from home is not preferred
• Playground for interior architects
The Google office in Amsterdam is a nice example. Apparently all Google offices around the world have a very nationalistic interior design. As the Dutch like caravanning, they parked a caravan in the middle of the office. I also like the bicycle repair shop, the home of the IT support desk. The downside of such an office: it’s one employer only, and as such it is not a very diverse environment.

Shared office
•Shared working spaces and meeting rooms
• Concepts as “Spaces” and “Seats2meet”
• Focused on self employed professionals
• Increased chance of casual collisions
• Nice design
• Somewhat artificial
The shared working spaces are popping up everywhere. Different concepts, from “the bare minimum” to “de luxe”. Often the concepts provide more than just a working space. They facilitate networking and they create professional communities.
Sometimes you can feel very lonely, sitting between all the professionals looking for their next assignment.

Casual collision
• Often build on the remains of traditional offices
• Sustainable concepts
• Home of start-ups
• Self employed professionals
• Corporates searching for innovation
• Big chance of casual collisions
• Transparent
• Somewhat rough
• Interior architects nowhere to be seen.
The next phase of office evolution. I described B. Amsterdam in my last blog post. B. Amsterdam and other concepts like it are interesting experiments. They become breeding grounds where professionals, start-ups, big corporates and universities are meeting each other. Together they are working on innovations, and creating a better world.

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