Are Open Plan Offices a Good Idea?
There’s a growing trend towards maximising space utilisation including greater use of flexible offices and work places. The aim should be to inspire progress and collaboration in the workplace and ultimately improve efficiency and output. Developments in technology and a focus shift towards productivity has meant a natural swing towards smarter working practices.
Many organisations are embracing new ways of working that may look like interior design projects but are in fact improving productivity and ticking a number of strategic boxes. Before you take the leap in redesigning your own workspace or copy the successful trend setters’ office layout it’s important to consider the unique requirements of your organisation. Will the changes achieve the desired outcomes?
Depending on the type of business you’re in, open plan offices can work very well or they can undermine communication and productivity. In 2011, psychologist Matthew Davis reviewed more than 100 studies on offices. He found open plan offices often fostered a sense of joint enterprise, but could also be damaging to attention spans, productivity and creative thinking. The working environment you create can have significant effects on employee satisfaction and rates of absenteeism*.
Work spaces should be designed in such a way as to boost collaboration, make the work environment more attractive for people and fundamentally better. The main success indicators are increases in space utilisation and productivity. Regardless of the size of your company, it’s worth revisiting the way you do business, take stock and ask is there a better way?
The process involves reviewing your current working environment and practices, your facilities, the available resources, the relevant legislation and your own objectives. Only then can productivity targets be set that optimise your own unique environment.
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