Remember when 9-to-5 was considered a full day of work? For many office workers, eight hours a day would now look like a part-time job. At one Amsterdam-based company, however, the standard work day might be making a comeback, thanks to an innovative design concept: their office essentially disappears at night, Brigadoon-style.
(Photo Credit: Office Now/Flickr)
Well, close to it, anyway. Design studio Heldergroen has created an office that can’t be used for work after 6 p.m., because the desks literally lift off the floor and disappear into the ceiling at that time, raised on cables and key-operated machinery.
Not that workers have to depart by this time. In fact, the company encourages them to stay and use the space — as long as they don’t use it for work.
“We are able to pull the tables up into the ceiling and make the whole room into a dance floor, yoga studio, trend session, networking reception, or anything else you can think of — the floor is literally yours,” says Sander Veenendaal, creative director for Heldergroen Creative, in an interview with Fast Company.
Of course, the real challenge to work-life balance for most of us isn’t face time at the desk — it’s after-hours email alerts and mid-vacation phone calls. If companies really want to help employees develop better work-life balance, the answer might not be desks on cables, but an end to the pressure — spoken and unspoken — to put in more work after hours, long after the office door is closed.
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