A couple of months ago, there was a mail from my parent ministry asking suggestions and our wish list should they plan a new Secretariat Building. I would obviously go for a traditional design, but I would love to have modern facilities inside.
Apart from the necessary office rooms with inbuilt cabinets, bigger windows for more lighting, or even cubicles for each divisions, I would also have added the following for good measure. I call this list my personal wishlist.
- A bicycle-friendly side entrance and indoor parking connected to a shower and changing room which would have inbuilt lockers with Bath/Wash facilities. This room will connect to the main lobby through which every entrance and exit will be monitored. This will encourage people to use bicycles to travel to/from office in their own comfortable wear (cycling gear). And they can change to formal wear in the changing rooms.
- I support underground parking to save on space but a good parking area with designated Parking for Staff and Visitors would also suffice. And a shaded parking space for two-wheeler would encourage more use of two-wheeler.
- A lobby and an information desk at the entrance with a lounge, and a smaller lounge in front of the HRD and AFD, since these are the two areas which will have a lot of visitors. Also a lounge for drivers is a must, which would be off the main entrance.
- Breakout space with meditation room, a prayer room or even an indoor gym where there can be yoga lessons, meditation sessions, team-building activities for the staff etc. Also if there is a basketball court or an outdoor area, that’s plus point, as it helps to keep the mind fresh.
- Cafeteria should have good and spacious dining rooms; this could be at the top floor, with an outdoors areas. Having dedicated dining rooms would discourage people to eat inside their offices. Also sometimes, there is need to entertain office guests/visitors in the Cafeteria for tea or a meal. If this is not feasible, there should be pantry at each floor, so that there is a place to lunch.
- Conference rooms; should be three, with different seating capacities eg 10+, 20+, or 50 to cater to multiple groups. They should be located in the ground floor for easy accessibility, or the top floor with a great view. There should be video-conferencing facility so that interviews can be done online, eg via Skype.
- Keyless cards for entry for the main doors and connecting doors. The individual cards should open the doors of the corresponding Division office/ rooms. It will act as a security feature and can be used for attendance too. Also this card can be used for identification. A screen at Lobby to show which person is IN or OUT – to be connected to the keyless entry card.
- An efficient Wifi and LAN connection which will use a centralized server, so that there can be inter-departmental communications. Can be linked to the keyless card system to check whether a person is available for a meeting or not. Will save a LOT of time.
- Crèche facility for children of the working parents. This will give them a chance to be nearer and help in the flexi-time usage of working mothers.
- Inbuilt heating and cooling facility, which will save on the usage of heaters and fans in independent offices. Also if there is provision for having hot water, that will also save hugely on using water-boilers in individual office rooms.
I know it is asking a lot, but an office is an extension of the home, so it should be homely. And we do spend our whole day there.