The Evolving Office – Open Space Architecture

July 20, 2016

Office space architecture has evolved dramatically over the decades. The norm is no longer four white walls packed with cubes and copiers. Established and contemporary employers alike have taken heed of this trend. The benefits of an architecturally appealing office space – obtaining and retaining top talent and creating an overall good vibe – far outweigh the initial costs. Employees aren’t necessarily looking for the biggest paycheck anymore. Employees are spending less and less time at the office due to the advancements of working remotely. That means comfort and happiness are big drivers in the workplace equation. Employers need to provide a place they want to be – a place they enjoy. But, as in most cases, one size doesn’t fit all. It’s important to consider the full spectrum of employee personalities and find the best layout for everyone.

 

 

 

Open Office Space Is Good for Some

Economic advantages – squeezing employees into the smallest space possible allows for the lowest real estate cost. And if your employees spend less than 40 hours a week at work, this makes sense. Mobile employees typically just need a simple space to work during those in-between-meeting times and while catching up on projects. If your group doesn’t spend all of their working time in the office, an open floor plan may be your best bet. But this also raises questions as to how work actually gets done.

 

And Not So Good for Others

Open floor plans don’t account for individual taste. Some may thrive, some may be ultra-ineffective. The lack of privacy can push introverted personalities into a workless stupor because, to them, noisy coworkers scream everything but efficiency. Every working style is different in its own unique way – your office should attempt to create a space for each by keeping individualism and diversity top priorities.

 

 

So Do What’s Best for You

Here’s how to get the best of all worlds – create a space specifically for you, your employees and your business. There are a few ways you can do this, but the most important is to sit down and hash out the most effective floor plan to serve everyone. You know your employees, clients and the type of personalities your business typically attracts. Try to cater to them all in one way or another. But remember, your employees spend the most time in the office, so get their ideas and feedback on what constitutes their ideal space.

 

Success Is Being True to Your Culture

There are many ways to gain the benefits of an open space while simultaneously creating positive workplace interactions, inviting offices, and even utilizing your slice of heaven as a metaphor for your company’s vision. The best way to do this – a central hub. Creating this hub gives you the benefits of an open space with the quiet necessity of separate work spaces. It gives your employees options – the social openness of an expansive meeting space or the cozy confines of their individual area.

 

 

 

What Should You Do?

Discover the type of space you’re missing. If you’ve been bucking the open office trend, maybe it’s time to try incorporating a central hub – a place for spontaneous creative activity and laid-back brainstorming or meetings. If you’ve launched yourself head-first into an open layout and are discovering a lack of productivity, maybe it’s time for a few partitions or walls. Quiet, private spaces encourage focused work and allow reserved personalities a place to recharge. Are open offices good or bad? That’s totally up to you. But even incorporating a small portion of your office into an open workspace can make a big difference.

Everyone and every business is different, and change happens – you can’t stop it, but you can be ready for it. Even if it’s not about responding to trends, flexible and varied workspaces allow you to discover which layout is right for the people that bring your space to life.