Whether it's in the Pentagon or in Podunk, an office is an office is an office. That's the generic view of Office Access (HarperCollins, 1993, $12), a chock-full-of-info new paperback that examines -- largely through inventive drawings and diagrams that redeem an occasionally weak text -- modern approaches to a safe and efficient office. A sampling of the topics analyzed: privacy versus productivity; task lighting versus ambient lighting; ergonomically correct fixtures; barrier-free layouts; noise control; and VDT-radiation shielding.

The 96-page publication was backed by office furnisher Steelcase, in Grand Rapids, Mich., but there's not a trace of self-promotion. Indeed, the last chapter envisions a future workplace where there are no furnishings: the mobile office. But until that comes about, you'll do your immobile-office staff a favor by studying this skinny little handbook.

-- Robert A. Mamis