1 place of business where professional or clerical duties are performed; "he rented an office in the new building" [syn: business office]
2 an administrative unit of government; "the Central Intelligence Agency"; "the Census Bureau"; "Office of Management and Budget"; "Tennessee Valley Authority" [syn: agency, federal agency, government agency, bureau, authority]
3 the actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a person or group; "the function of a teacher"; "the government must do its part"; "play its role" [syn: function, part, role]
4 (of a government or government official) holding an office means being in power; "being in office already gives a candidate a great advantage"; "during his first year in office"; "during his first year in power"; "the power of the president" [syn: power]
5 professional or clerical workers in an office; "the whole office was late the morning of the blizzard" [syn: office staff]
6 a religious rite or service prescribed by ecclesiastical authorities; "the offices of the mass"
7 a job in an organization; "he occupied a post in the treasury" [syn: position, post, berth, spot, billet, place, situation]
- A building or room where clerical or professional duties are performed.
- A bureau, an administrative unit of government.
- A position of responsibility of some authority within an organisation.
- (‘good office’) Mediation or help in resolving a dispute.
- ''The UN Secretary General uses what is termed his "good offices" (generally meaning his prestige and the weight of the world community he represents) when he meets with world leaders, either publicly or privately, in an effort to prevent international disputes from developing, escalating or spreading.''
- rite, ceremonial observance of social or religious nature
- religious service, especially a liturgy officiated by a Christian priest or minister
- major administrative division, notably in certain governmental administrations, either at ministry level (e.g. the British Home Office) or within or dependent on such a department
- a task that one feels obliged to do
- 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Modern Library Edition
(1995), page 144
- ...there I readily engaged in the office of pointing out to my friend the certain evils of such a choice.
- 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Modern Library Edition (1995), page 144
building or room
- Bosnian: kancelarija , poslovnica
- Chinese: 办公室 (bàngōngshì)
- Czech: kancelář (room)
- Dutch: bureau, kantoor
- Faroese: skrivstova
- Finnish: toimisto, virasto, konttori, liikehuoneisto, toimipaikka
- French: bureau
- German: Büro
- Hebrew: משרד
- Hungarian: hivatal, iroda
- Icelandic: skrifstofa
- Irish: oifig
- Italian: ufficio
- Japanese: 事務所 (じむしょ, jimusho), オフィス (ofisu), 執務室 (しつむしつ, shitsumushitsu)
- Korean: 사무소 (samuso), 사무실 (samusil)
- Kurdish: دایره
- Norwegian: kontor
- Polish: biuro
- Portuguese: escritório
- Russian: контора, канцелярия, офис, кабинет
- Scottish Gaelic: oifig , oifis , seòmar-gnothaich
- Slovene: pisarna
- Spanish: oficina
- Swedish: kontor
- Bosnian: ured, biro
- Czech: úřad
- Dutch: bureau, dienst, overheidsdienst
- Faroese: skrivstova
- Finnish: virasto, ministeriö
- German: Amt
- Hebrew: משרד
- Irish: oifig
- Polish: urząd , biuro
- Portuguese: escritório
- Russian: ведомство, министерство, управление, бюро
- Slovene: urad
- Spanish: oficina
- Swedish: byrå
- Dutch: dienst
- French: office
- German: Dienst
EtymologyBorrowed from officium.
An office is generally a room or other area in which people work, but may also denote a position within an organisation with specific duties attached to it (see officer, office-holder, official); the latter is in fact an earlier usage, office as place originally referring to the location of one's duty. When used as an adjective, the term office may refer to business-related tasks. In legal writing, a company or organization has offices in any place that it has an official presence, even if that presence consists of, for example, a storage silo rather than an office.
An office is an architectural and design phenomenon and a social phenomenon, whether it is a tiny office such as a bench in the corner of a "Mom and Pop shop" of extremely small size (see small office/home office) through entire floors of buildings up to and including massive buildings dedicated entirely to one company. In modern terms an office usually refers to the location where white-collar workers are employed.
History of offices
Space arrangement in officesThere are many different ways of arranging the space in an office and whilst these vary according to function, managerial fashions and the culture of specific companies can be even more important. Choices include, how many people will work within the same room. At one extreme, each individual worker will have their own room; at the other extreme a large open plan office can be made up of one main room with tens or hundreds of people working in the same space. Open plan offices put multiple workers together in the same space, and some studies have shown that they can improve short term productivity, i.e. within a single software project. At the same time, the loss of privacy and security can increase the incidence of theft and loss of company secrets. A type of compromise between open plan and individual rooms is provided by the cubicle, possibly made most famous by the Dilbert cartoon series, which solves visual privacy to some extent, but often fails on acoustic separation and security. Most cubicles also require the occupant to sit with their back towards anyone who might be approaching; workers in walled offices almost always try to position their normal work seats and desks so that they can see someone entering, and in some instances, install tiny mirrors on things such as computer monitors.
Office buildingsWhile offices can be built in almost any location in almost any building, some modern requirements for offices make this more difficult. These requirements can be both legal (i.e. light levels must be sufficient) or technical (i.e. requirements for networking). Alongside such other requirements such as security and flexibility of layout, this has led to the creation of special buildings which are dedicated only or primarily for use as offices. An office building, also known as an office block, is a form of commercial building which contains spaces mainly designed to be used for offices.
The primary purpose of an office building is to provide a workplace and working environment primarily for administrative and managerial workers. These workers usually occupy set areas within the office building, and usually are provided with desks, PCs and other equipment they may need within these areas.
An office building will be divided into sections for different companies or may be dedicated to one company. In either case, each company will typically have a reception area, one or several meeting rooms, singular or open-plan offices, as well as toilets.
Many office buildings also have kitchen facilities and a staff room, where workers can have lunch or take a short break.
- Adams, Scott. What do you call a sociopath in a cubicle? (answer, a coworker) Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Pub., 2002.
- Duffy, Francis. Colin Cave. John Worthington, editors. Planning Office Space. London: The Architectural Press Ltd., 1976.
- Klein, Judy Graf. The Office Book. New York: Facts on File Inc., 1982.
office in Czech: Úřad
office in German: Büro
office in Spanish: Oficina
office in French: Bureau (immobilier)
office in Korean: 오피스
office in Indonesian: Kantor
office in Hebrew: משרד
office in Malay (macrolanguage): Kantor
office in Dutch: Kantoor
office in Japanese: オフィス
office in Norwegian: Kontor
office in Polish: Biuro
office in Portuguese: Escritório
office in Russian: Офис
office in Simple English: Office
office in Finnish: Toimisto
office in Swedish: Kontor
office in Ukrainian: Офіс
office in Chinese: 辦公室
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