The concept of the open office has been around for some time now, however lately it has come under fire for various reasons. It turns out that having no doors, no walls, and a shared workspace undermines what the concept was originally designed to achieve: increased communication, collaboration and flow of ideas amongst workers. Recent studies have shown that open office concept decreases privacy and employee’s job satisfaction, which also has a direct affect on productivity.
However, despite what some productivity experts and organisational psychologists are saying, the open office lay out can make a team more cohesive, particularly if key members of staff support it.
A commercial fit out such as this can give managers and CEOs are better understanding of what’s going at the company and how their employees are performing as whole. These are just a few reasons as to why an open floor concept can work and be highly effective for efficiency and productivity within the work place.
Let’s take a look at a few more reasons why it’s not such a bad idea and why it’s beneficial to have the CEO or manager sitting right in the middle of all the action.
You’ll be tuned into the Office Vibe
If you’re sitting in the same general vicinity as your staff, you’ll be able to get an idea of what they’re discussing – regardless if it is good or bad. You don’t need to conduct yourself as if you are interrogating your employees or spying on them, but if you can be across people’s concerns at the ground level, you will have ample opportunity to weigh in and offer advice and guidance when it is needed. In saying that, if your employees need a quiet word with you or with one another, ensure there is space for them to do this.
You’ll be more Approachable
A corporate setup should be about being compartmentalized and where staff can feel comfortable enough to speak with executive management if need be. You don’t want a setup where the junior employees are in the middle of everything and the senior-level staff is hidden away from everyone else. A highly strategic place in the office for a manager to sit in would be right near the front door. Think about it. The front door is the access point in the office where everyone will be walking through at some point during the day. This increases the opportunity for anyone to ask the manager anything at any time. If tasks need to have an immediate answer, they can be done there and then.
There is chance that an open office setup can affect productivity; however there are ways to get around it. One such way would be to adopt a policy that when people need to work without distraction, they have the option of working from home. Furthermore, you can make sure everyone has a pair of headphones and when they are being worn, it’s a sign they don’t want to be disturbed.
Interoffice Communication can be improved
Chat tools such as Skype can help make interoffice communication much easier and much quicker, however it is also refreshing when people actually take the time to talking to one another and this can happen naturally in an open office.
As companies grow, space will obviously become an issue. It’s important to remember that while moving into a bigger office space is essential if you are expanding your staff, it is also just as important to choose a building or setup that will allow you all to communicate on a daily basis. What you don’t want is to move into a building where you could potentially go days without seeing each other.
The good news is that there are several commercial fit out companies who will be able to inform you whether an open office setup can be done in your building and, if not, what the alternatives are. Keep in mind the reasons mentioned in this article when discussing what you want to get out of having an open office and they will be able to guide you in the right direction.