Work is changing, and we need more flexible offices to accommodate it. It comes down to the five key spaces you must have in an office today to be efficient while keeping the workforce both engaged and productive.

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Things have moved on from noisy open-plan offices and soulless linear desking. Office fit out companies are now looking at spaces that are multi-functional. Rather than sitting at one desk for most of the day, employees are moving around, using different spaces as they engage in different activities. So here are the top five.

1. Quiet Zone

Many employees are suspicious of new office configurations because of their hatred of open-plan working. Enter the quiet zone to cater for people wanting to work in that mode. This is often an area without through traffic, and quite often without telephones or other distractions. Individual work pods are sometimes provided.

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2. Touchdown

This is the space for people who’ve dropped into the office to do things before heading out again on client visits or other work. It tends to be social, as people who are out a lot may want to catch up.

3. Resources Area

Really? We still have to have a photocopier? All right, so this is where it goes. No one’s idea of exciting, but if everything is one place it’s more efficient.

4. A Breakout Area

Think of this as your informal meeting area. Seating is usually less formal and often includes sofas and low tables. The World Economic Forum, no less, has run articles about the need to redesign office spaces, such as those from, to include these kinds of areas.

5. Open Plan

The problem with pure open plan was that it didn’t cater for people’s different tasks during the day. However, they sometimes needed to talk to others nearby, and open plan was great for that.

But sometimes the same employees needed to concentrate on writing a complex proposal or checking a set of figures. And open plan was just too noisy and likely to reduce concentration and productivity. However, in an office with other alternative working spaces, open plan can find a place as just one of the ways that people choose to work. And as well as open plan, layouts such as hub-and-spoke are also proving popular.