Today’s corporate facility manager must have a very clear brief of how their ideal workspace should function and a thorough understanding of the company’s inherent work methods and culture before creating or upgrading a workspace…
Whilst the accelerating requirement for interaction and technology has forced a total rethink of workspace design, and the trend of replacing rigid cubicles with open-plan layouts is nothing new, the first question to consider is how your current workplace culture would best be supported before switching to a different layout.
The pros of the open plan layout are generally focused around collaborative working with more opportunity for staff members to share ideas and knowledge sharing between senior and junior staff. The arguments against the open plan office, though very often not given due credit, are that staff must be more intently focused and dedicated to the task at hand to overcome distractions, lack of privacy and the breakdown of status that the dedicated office cubicle affords to more senior positions.
If your company’s culture is highly structured and hierarchical and it happens to be working very well, switching to an open plan environment may bring no benefits, and even worse, inefficiency or complete confusion.
The vast majority of workers just want to do their job and be comfortable whilst doing it and whilst workspace design influences efficiency and well-being, so does other factors such as remuneration and the provision for a work/life balance.
At the end of the day, there’s no point spending thousands of dollars on a new office layout that reflects and embraces emerging workplace trends if they don’t suit your company’s culture.