What is Office?

Legal Definition
An office is generally a room or other area where administrative work is done, but may also denote a position within an organization 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; whether it is a small office such as a bench in the corner of a small business 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. As per James Stephenson,"Office is that part of business enterprise which is devoted to the direction and co-ordination of its various activities."

Offices in classical antiquity were often part of a palace complex or a large temple. The High Middle Ages (1000–1300) saw the rise of the medieval chancery, which was usually the place where most government letters were written and where laws were copied in the administration of a kingdom. With the growth of large, complex organizations in the 18th century, the first purpose-built office spaces were constructed. As the Industrial Revolution intensified in the 18th and 19th centuries, the industries of banking, rail, insurance, retail, petroleum, and telegraphy dramatically grew, and a large number of clerks were needed, and as a result more office space was required to house these activities. The time and motion study, pioneered in manufacturing by F. W. Taylor led to the “Modern Efficiency Desk” with a flat top and drawers below, designed to allow managers an easy view of the workers. However, by the midpoint of the 20th century, it became apparent that an efficient office required discretion in the control of privacy, and gradually the cubicle system evolved.

The main purpose of an office environment is to support its occupants in performing their job. Work spaces in an office are typically used for conventional office activities such as reading, writing and computer work. There are nine generic types of work space, each supporting different activities. In addition to individual cubicles, there are also meeting rooms, lounges, and spaces for support activities, such as photocopying and filing. Some offices also have a kitchen area where workers can make their lunches. There 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. While offices can be built in almost any location and in almost any building, some modern requirements for offices make this more difficult, such as requirements for light, networking, and security. 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.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
An office is a right to exercise a public function or employment, and to take the fees and emoluments belonging to it,. Shelf. on Mortm. 797; Cruise, Dig. Index, h. t.; 3 Serg. & R. 149.

2. Offices may be classed into civil and military.

3. - 1. Civil offices may be classed into political, judicial, and ministerial.

4. - 1. The political offices are such as are not connected immediately with the administration of justice, or the execution of the mandates of a superior officer; the office of the president of the United States, of the heads of departments, of the members of the legislature, are of this number.

5. - 2. The judicial offices are those which relate to the administration of justice, and which must be exercised by persons of sufficient skill and experience in the duties which appertain to them.

6. - 3. Ministerial offices are those which give the officer no power to judge of the matter to be done, and require him to obey the mandates of a superior. 7 Mass. 280. See 5 Wend. 170; 10 Wend. 514; 8 Verm. 512; Breese, 280. It is a general rule, that a judicial office cannot be exercised by deputy, while a ministerial may.

7. In the United, States, the tenure of office never extends beyond good behaviour. In England, offices are public or private. The former affect the people generally, the latter are such as concern particular districts, belonging to private individuals. In the United States, all offices, according to the above definition, are public; but in another sense, employments of a private nature are also called offices; for example, the office of president of a bank, the office of director of a corporation. For the incompatibility of office, see Incompatibility; 4 S. & R. 277; 4 Inst. 100; Com. Dig. h. t., B. 7; and vide, generally, 3 Kent, Com. 362; Cruise, Dig. tit. 25; Ham. N. P. 283; 16 Vin. Ab. 101; Ayliffe's Parerg. 395; Poth. Traite des Choses, §2; Amer. Dig. h. t.; 17 S. & R. 219.

8. - 2. Military offices consist of such as are granted to soldiers or naval officers.

9. The room in which the business of an officer is transacted is also called an office, as the land office. Vide Officer.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Office is defined to be a right to exercise a public or private employment, and to take the fees and emoluments thereunto belonging, whether public, as those of maglstrates or private, as of bailiffs, receivers or the like. 2 Bl. Comm. 36. Rowland v. New York, 83 N. Y. 372; Dailey v. State, 8 Blackf. (Ind.) 330; Blair v. Marye, 80 Va. 495; Worthy v. Barrett, 63 N. C. 202; People v. Duane, 121 N. Y. 367, 24 N. E. 845; In S. v. Hartwell, 6 Wall. 393, 18 L. Ed. 830. That function by virtue whercof a person has some employment in the affairs of another, whether judicial, ministerial, legislative, municipal, ecclesiastical, etc. Cowell. An employment on behalf of the government in any station or public trust, not merely transient, occasional, or incidental. In re Attorneys' Oatbs, 20 Johns. (N. Y.) 493. The most frequent occasions to use the word arise with reference to a duty and power conferred on an individual by the government; and, when this is the connection, "public office" is a usual and more discriminating expression. But a power and duty may exist without immediate grant from government, and may be properly called an "office ;" as the office of executor, the office of steward. Here the individual acts towards legatees or towards tenants in performance of a duty, and in exercise of a power not derived from their consent, but devolved on him by an authority which quoad hoc is superior. Abbott. Offices may be classed as civil and military; and civil offices may be classed as political, judicial, and ministerial. Political offices are such as are not connected immediately with the administration of justice, or the execution of the mandates of a superior officer. Judicial are those which relate to the administration of justice. Ministerial are those which give the officer no power to judge of the matter to be done, and require him to obey the mandates of a superior. It is a general rule that a judicial office cannot be exercised by deputy, while a ministerial one may. Waldo v. Wallace, 12 Ind. 569. "Office" ls frequently used in the old books as an abbreviation for "inquest of office," (Qv.)
See also
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
An employment on behalf of the government in any station or public trust, not merely transient, occasional or incidental. See 63 Am. St. Rep. 181, note.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary