Oh, the open office floor plan.
It was a bridge to the future, a sign that companies “got it,” and that, finally, those beige and steel gray cubicle walls were coming down with a thud louder than the Berlin Wall collapse.
The open offices offered employees space for collaboration, better light, windows for all, freedom! — and not so incidentally – often a smaller floor plate that saved money. Wireless connectivity played a key role, enabling employees to work in different settings, move around, and even change their regular work station if they wanted to.
But were there drawbacks that space planners had overlooked in the name of moving things forward? Maybe. Some companies are now saying that the new designs lack opportunities for privacy, and provide too many opportunities for distraction.
Here’s a recent take from the BBC, which also quotes CoreNet Global member NBBJ, a global architectural firm.
Clearly there are some benefits to the open office that will outlive any attempts to pull back – they can provide a greener, brighter, healthier work environment. We are learning more every day about the link between healthy workspaces and happy and more productive employees (although it does seem kind of obvious).
And they will continue to save money, utilize space better when employees are working remotely, and provide innovative and dynamic workplaces.
We’re sure there is a happy medium out there. At CoreNet Global’s own headquarters, we have open spaces, along with areas marked for collaboration, and those marked for “heads down” work. We also have a series of conference rooms and private spaces for that call to the doctor or from the kids’ principal.
What is your company’s approach and has the experience been positive? Tell us by commenting below.