Starting in the 70s, the academic rate in Western countries has increased tremendously. For instance, in Austria it rose from 2,8% to 15,8%. This means that a wide mass of people tends to work from a desk at least more often. The former workbench has turned into a desk.
For a lot of people that means a more convenient way of working. But still, it appears to be that most offices are not created tailor-made for everydays work. In the industry age, fabricants also needed quite some time to figure out the most efficient way to work and provide workspaces. Desk worker really need to comprehend that they are producing, too. We are just talking about distinct forms of outcomes.
In the 80s, Japanese manufacturer developed the so-called „5S-method“ which complemented a lean production approach for workspaces. It pictures a 5 step working method to keep a professional work environment and eventually work efficiently. Therefore, every worker must sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain its workspace.
In case of a workbench, that meant avoiding piles of used tools and other utensils in the production or technical rooms. Due to its arrangements, a smooth workflow should be achieved. Work processes should be standardized in order to avoid redundant search for either tools, colleagues or material. Sticking to these principles the working environment aimed to be inherently sustained.
Apart of about half of all office workers conducting their own business while being at work, the desk arrangement (or disarrangement) is one of the notorious hitmen in business premises worldwide. Employees need to be encouraged to change that using the Japanese 5S-method. Desks should be arranged as simple as possible and as busy as necessary. Keep it sorted, functional, shining, standardized and sustainable.