Wednesday 14 August 2013
Open Plan Offices?
Open plan offices have increased in popularity in recent years, as trends move away from private or closed office spaces towards a lighter and more sociable workplace. This office style was first introduced to allow managers to keep a close eye on all of their workers, but as the nature of office work evolved and the importance of socialising at work became more important, open plan offices developed even further. It became understood that workers would be far happier in their jobs if they could socialise with their colleagues, so this was encouraged to try to boost morale.
Partition walls were removed, the number of screens were reduced and desks were clustered to encourage employees to interact together as a team. This has the advantage of allowing employees to be grouped by skills to optimise their productivity, whilst also allowing them to communicate on a social level to increase job satisfaction and happiness. Although this obviously doesn't come without problems - working in close proximity to the same people for long periods of time can lead to disagreements and arguments, which will be counter-productive. Not only that, but if employees working closely together get on too well, then they might be too easily distracted and not be focused. Open plan office spaces become a balancing act: on the one hand you want to maintain a relaxed and sociable atmosphere, but you also need to keep productivity high.
The most popular modern way of achieving this balance is to use screens between clusters of desks. You can divide workers and create some privacy for each desk, whilst still maintaining a relatively open and sociable space. This gives employees their own distinguishable workspace, without completely cutting them off from the rest of their colleagues.
Ultimately, it all comes down the management style of your business and the structure and ethos that you want to create around your office. Open plan office spaces definitely have their merits, but there are also very clear drawbacks that some managers feel the need to address.
If you talk to us about what you want to achieve for your business then we can plan your space for you, and create a package to give you the office that really reflects your style. Whether you want your office to be completely open plan, quiet and private, or somewhere in between the two, we can help you out with our free space planning and design service. All you have to do is send us a floor plan of your space with a short brief of what it is you want to achieve and leave us to do the rest!