27 (122) 2016
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Real Estate & Construction

An office adjusted to the IT sector's needs

By Nina Bocheńska, marketing specialist, Nowy Styl Group
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The significant growth of the modern business services sector has been a salient feature in Poland’s most recent economic history.

The sector stands firmly on the pillar of IT companies. Contemporary methodologies of design work, based on information exchange and effective communication between team members, require a new form of office space that will catch up with the office dynamics and the new style of working.

The functionality of an IT office is mainly determined by workbench workstations. The biggest advantage of this solution is the fact that it allows the whole team carrying out a particular project to work at one place. Workbenches are perfect for programming in pairs when two computer programmers do a task together. Very often, however, there’s a need to create an individual workstation designed for undisturbed work. Free-standing desks or workstations sectioned off by acoustic panels offer employees comfortable conditions for working in the quiet.

A completely different space is designed for the project section where creativity and brainstorming sessions are of crucial importance. An additional creativity zone arranged next to the main team workstations has a huge influence on employees' efficiency. Well-designed spaces with colourful furniture, inspiring wall stickers, or photo-wallpapers can trigger off innovative ideas. The short meetings, so-called sprints or stand-ups, which are typical of the IT sector, require a space where people will be able to meet together and hold a conversation. Because in the IT sector a few teams often work on different projects at the same time, the number and size of conference rooms should be adjusted in a proper way – in this case, a perfect idea is to design several small rooms, instead of one large hall. Another idea is to use the acoustic modular seating next to the teamwork zone. Thanks to its high walls, this solution separates the meeting participants from other workers, which provides all employees with comfortable working conditions. Taking into account the character of tasks performed by computer specialists and programmers, it’s advisable to design a relaxation zone when arranging an office. A fan room or a chill-out room is a place where employees can spend a break in an active way, relax after sitting long hours in front of a computer screen, and clear their minds.

In the case of an IT office, the key elements are additional accessories that help employees keep their workstations neat and tidy. Computer specialists make use of a great number of electronic devices, so it is necessary to put their power cords in order. The specially designed horizontal and vertical wire trunking, desks equipped with media ports, wire grommets, sliding tops ensuring quick access to the available sockets – make up the obligatory equipment of a modern IT specialist's workstation.

When arranging an office space for the IT sector, we should also take into consideration the characteristic features of the people working there. The average employee is an ambitious person aged 20-35, draws their knowledge from Western corporations, and expects special treatment from their employer. Being aware of their market value, IT specialists look for a company that, apart from a satisfying salary, offers them additional benefits, such as the possibility of working in a modern and comfortable office. The experience gained by many organisations clearly shows that it’s a good idea to build the employer branding by using innovation and taking care of employees – but also by providing them with an attractive work environment. A good example: The Google Company has proven that investing in employees and their work environment helps to create an image of an ideal employer.

Because the profile of IT specialists and the character of their tasks are complex, the process of arranging an effective office space for this sector is a real challenge. Therefore, a perfect tool is the research process whose aim is to define the needs of a particular organisation. It allows for designing a functional lay-out and then for arranging such an interior that will support the activities undertaken by the company and increase employees' efficiency. In the case of the projects carried out by the IT sector, the success is very often determined by a harmonious team, and not by an individual. To ensure effective work of the whole IT organisation, it’s necessary to create an office space that will support cooperation and facilitate information exchange.

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