Open Plan Offices with Glazed Partitions
The idea of open office plan was first conceived in Hamburg, Germany in the 1950s to aid communication and make ideas flow smoothly. Since then, open plans have become the norm in most companies and organisations. However, there has been much debate recently as to whether open offices are achieving what they were designed to achieve.
Let us take a look at some of its advantages and disadvantages to have a better idea:
Advantages of Open Plan Offices
Open office plans surely lead to more interaction among employees. Some of the most creative ideas have been orchestrated in the midst of spontaneous conversations. Also, more communication means more friendships and a sense of community. In fact, just the presence of people around can be a spirit booster for many employees.
Economically Sound Idea
One of the reasons of open plan’s success has been its cost-effectiveness. From effective allocation of space to decreased heat and electricity bills, open office plan saves businesses huge sums of money. Moreover, if the business decides to expand, open plan will be able to accommodate that too.
Open office plan allows managers to be better able to manage their employees. This can lead to enhanced efficiency and productivity. When the managers and employees are in constant contact, handling issues becomes a lot easier.
In an open office plan, senior employees are not very far away from junior recruits. It makes it easier for the older generation to share their views and ideas with the younger lot. What’s more, young millennials are good with technology and can help their seniors get good hold of it. This creates an environment where everybody learns from each other.
Disadvantages of Open Plan
Open office plan means a lot of noise and distraction. When the work requires immense concentration, research has shown that noise affects performance negatively. Also, people might get irritated after such long exposure to constant noise.
Lack of Privacy
Open plans are the opposite of privacy. This lack of privacy makes many people uncomfortable. In fact, several studies have found that having physical barriers help improve employee performance.
While an open office plan may be great for extroverts, who thrive on social interaction, it may not be a good office design for introverts, who get easily overwhelmed by excessive stimuli. Introverts need privacy and close quarters to regroup their thoughts and function effectively.
Lack of Control
It has been found that open office plan seems to take away the sense of control from employees. Some like the temperature to be a bit colder, some would like it hot. These small things have proved to negatively affect performance and productivity of many people.
Choosing the office design of your workplace is a very important decision – a decision that has great long-term consequences for your business. Make sure you thoroughly weigh the pros and cons before finally deciding.