As far back as the 1950s, businesses have thoughtfully designed open office layouts in hopes of achieving better productivity. However, in recent years evidence has surfaced in favor of office workstation cubicles that argue they are responsible for creating a more productive workspace. It has caused some confusion in the business world as to which setup allows employees the best environment to enhance focus and overall space.
Open Office Deception
The open office is responsible for exposing companies to the word “synergy” or synchronized energy. It was supposed to be welcoming and flexible, a place of seamless collaboration with no soul-sucking walls to bar colleagues from exchanging thoughts and ideas. In most areas, it does allow for team morale to be cultivated as well as tear down any inner office superiority between managers and employees. Workers feel like they can speak freely with their supervisors. It also seemed like a good fit for the changing workforce as more mobile jobs transformed office needs. But what really goes on in an open office? After almost 15 years as the ‘best’ way to design an office, results have found that they are no more productive than when using office workstation cubicles. In fact, in some cases, they were found to be a less productive environment as co-workers lose focus due to noise, commotion, lack of privacy.
Space For Space
Another area that the open office claims, is that it is a better use of office space as the layout permits more employees on the floor at once. This, too, is a misconception as it requires all workers to share long tables in close quarters. There is also no way to add personal touches to make the space more comfortable for each individual. So, in reality, if the open office were actually to provide a realistic amount of workspace for each employee, it would end up taking up more floor space than a cubicle based layout. One of the bigger issues that are caused by a more open atmosphere is the number of germs and airborne bacteria that circulate more easily from shared workspaces and lack of barriers.
What Really Increases Productivity
Working in an open office loses an average of 85 minutes of work time every day. So what does it take to avoid distractions and provide a space ideal for handling all tasks in a timely manner? Office workstations cubicles are not the shut-in boxes they once were. Newer, more modern designs can provide a dedicated work area that also allows co-workers the freedom to exchange ideas. Customizing your company office to get the best of both worlds is a great way to achieve higher productivity levels. It also gives workers a comfortable environment that they can make their own without being closed off from their co-workers.
The open office illusion still hasn’t completely lost its momentum in the business world. However, in light of new evidence that supports it may not be the solution for every office, you may be wondering how you can gain that perfect balance. The good news is some people understand the delicate nature of office design. Businesses like Strong Project are dedicated to working with companies to figure out the most beneficial layout, so you can get back to doing what you do best.