How open is open?
If you have noticed the world's offices are becoming increasingly dominated by the expansive and ever popular open working concept. Tech companies swear by it and now other industries are following suit, with many saying their goodbyes to the cubicle working concept offices aren't a productivity panacea, though, but with the right moves to balance them out, employers can ensure their staff’s working space fosters both collaboration and focus.
The perks of open concept offices
So why are open concepts a practical move for employers to have their office floor plans done for staff’s work space and why they are becoming so popular?
Companies allow open office concepts could reduce costs and foster more spontaneous collaboration not to mention increase the flexibility of what spaces can be used for.
Offices with Open space allow companies to reduce costs and increase the flexibility of what spaces can be used for. Even smaller offices can dodge a claustrophobic atmosphere and encourage social cohesion through open concept office plans.
Offices with Open spaces aren't for everyone
Although these offices continue to grow in popularity, research by architecture and design firm Gensler has shown that open concept offices can get in the way of individually focused work. Conversely, they found that more individually focused work increases a worker's ability to collaborate, socialize and learn.
People who consider themselves Introverts require a deep sense of focus might also find it hard to work in these environments.
Having more traditional, private spaces in your office is ideal if your workers require longer periods of deep individual focus. Number crunchers that work in banking or finance, and creatives who need alone time to reflect on their ideas can be more productive in quiet spaces.
Industries that need more confidentiality, such as legal services and mental health services, also stand to benefit from a more traditional design. Consider the industry you work in and the needs of your workers before making a switch to one layout or the other.
Design with balance in mind
Balance is the name of the game for managers who want to create a workplace that is open enough to promote collaboration, yet private enough to let workers have their space and stay focused. Any space can be fine-tuned with a little bit of creativity.
Private flexi rooms are an excellent way to give your team choices in how they work. This has the two-pronged benefit of taking noisy sales calls and meetings outside of open workspaces while providing a peaceful area for workers who need some alone time.
If cordoning off private rooms isn't realistic for you, simply designating specific areas as "quiet spaces" can signal to your team that noise and interruptions should be kept to a minimum while saving resources on your end.
Open offices have the potential to increase collaboration and creativity, but can also make focused, individual work difficult. Employers will have to keep balance top of mind when managing the space to make sure workers are able to prosper no matter their personality or profession.
Alternatively, provide your team with more flexible work options too like working from home or on flex time. Workers can get some control over their environment and take advantage of the collaborative benefits of an open space while preserving a sense of focus and privacy.