II.1 Active Office: Action Office for Knowledge Worker
Office and home domains offer different significant behaviours for habitants. Office as workplace is a place of productivity and home is a place for enjoyment and relaxation, but now it becomes possible for different forms of work to be performed within the physical space of the home.
The “workplace” is synonymous with a stereotyped notation of the “office”. Closer analysis of the office as a container for work itself is not fixed (Churchill and Munro 2001). For example, in 1904 when Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building was completed in Buffalo, USA, it was in many people’s opinions the epitome of the concept of the office of that era. It represented the state of the art in special-purpose, design spaces for knowledge workers. The space was laid out efficiently as an assembly line of the document.
In this setting, workers were not mobile, not even locally. Documents were mobile and mobility of the worker was confined to supervisors.
Later in the 1960’s Robert Probst proposed the Action Office, offering workers “power over the walls”, where office interiors could be redesigned by moving walls and furniture as the need arose. Similarly, 1960s Germany, the Schnelle brothers introduce Burolandschaft, offering moveable furniture for the landscape office with information flow that led to the 70s cubicle culture and cube farms.
In the 1990s “hotdesking” arrived as furniture once again become immobile, but its “ownership” was highly mobile, with people and personal artifacts barely “touching the ground”. Work often takes place “out of the office”. Much work takes place in other non-official locations. Some people had home offices, while others talked of appropriating space in an ad hoc manner. An example is “the corner of the kitchen table”, a location that feminist designers have long noted represents a place where the domestic zone (the home) becomes an economic zone (a place of work). Work also possibly takes place in public places, a central issue that arises is the unpredictability of the environment and how technology including ubiquitous/pervasive computing technology can fit into this situation.
Technologies like the elevator affected the structure of the workplace, making the skyscraper possible and making for great concentrations of workers in one place. Further, innovations such as lighting and air conditioning affected the hours people were able to work effectively and comfortably.
Nowadays, communication technologies have affected the landscape of interaction, making communications between distant locations possible. Communication technologies like wireless technologies affected the way in which work gets done in terms of information flow without any wiring. Computer technologies and network infrastructures that have taken work out of a single place and into multiple places are one target of invisible computing.
In an Active Office, the worker will be mobile while information is available everywhere and every time in the office. The user also can be seen logically in several locations. The user mobility manages to provide relevant information at the right time and in multiple places. Our approach is by understanding user mobility patterns, understanding user tasks which lead to user activity in the corridor of Active Office criteria. The Active Office has three criteria i.e. high productivity, efficiency and comfort. The questions to designers are: