How to Make an Open Office Design Work For You
Open office plans are the bandwagon trend lately, and everybody’s jumping on. However, there is a misconception that an open office plan is a one-sized-fits-all solution – it’s more complex than that.
The advantage of an office environment in general (as opposed to working remotely) is that it is a hub of social activity. With the assistance of technology nowadays, people can do individual work and activities anywhere they are. What an office can provide are spaces that are specialized for specific types of behaviors or activities that people like to do when they’re together, such as group co-creation.
While there are many benefits, such as increased levels of collaboration and a fostered sense of community, companies that open up their floor plan without thoughtful pre-planning often realize afterward what they’ve actually shifted to is a space that can become filled with distractions, having the opposite effect intended by making worktime less efficient.
Even within a company, different job functions can have varied preferred working styles. For example, many programmers dislike the idea of open floor plans. Programming is a solitary activity, and in order to concentrate properly on the work at hand, developers tend to prefer quieter environments where they cannot overhear conversations or be distracted easily.
While there are many positive advantages to being close to your co-workers, an office design that takes sightlines and acoustics into consideration can help zone your open office plan to suit how your workers optimally work. To achieve this, consider including additions such as huddle rooms, breakout areas and task-specific spaces. Even the inclusion of small, 1-2 person rooms where calls or small meetings can be held privately can make an incredible impact of the quality of your team’s work atmosphere.
When shifting to an open office layout, a thoughtful design can ensure your team’s needs are met while also encouraging them to adapt their work environment to suit to their own style. Consider what kind of elements you can include to optimally allow your team to feel motivated and productive. Provide areas where heads-down work can be done independently and other more open spaces to promote collaboration. By tailoring your new office space to include a rich variety of flexible spaces, you'll find that not only will they be happier, but more productive, which is the end goal for any successful open office transition.