There has been much talk of large businesses and corporations eschewing the old office format and knocking down the walls between employees, converting their tired, old floor plans into something new, exciting and collaborative. But what are the benefits and what are the downfalls of open floor plans in a business environment?
Why Businesses Love the Open-Plan Layout
An open floor plan presents a youthful image to a prospective employee. It promotes teamwork and collaborative growth as the focus rather than personal achievement. Employees are encouraged to chat and bounce ideas off one another, and as a result, the more casual and friendly atmosphere can help foster stronger work relationships.
Concerns of “Too Much Collaboration”
By taking down the cubicle walls and removing the barriers between employees, businesses are also making assumptions about their employees. Not every person is built the same way, however, and the insecurity of open floor plans may be a hindrance to productivity rather than a boost for those who feel exposed. Distractions become a real problem as well, with many employees turning to wearing headphones or earbuds to avoid coworkers who aren’t as involved in their own work or want to stop by and chat.
Consider the Nature of Your Business
With an open floor plan, it can be difficult to determine who is in charge. While collaboration rules the day at new-school businesses ranging from San Diego internet marketing agencies to cloud computing companies, stratified offices such as governmental departments will find it difficult to make the adjustment when the corner office is gone. Productivity and contribution rule the day, not seniority and familiarity.
Trending or Traditional
As with any business strategy, there are advantages and disadvantages of open-plan offices, and it will be up to you to decide if trending or traditional is the best match for your needs, goals and company culture. Stay true to your business and you’ll be able to confidently make a decision.
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