The open floor plan is just what it sounds like – a floor plan in an office setting that is open, with little to no barriers or partitions separating employees. The open office is a popular option among management. In fact, according to the International Facility Management Association, about 70% of U.S. offices they surveyed have some type of open floor plan.
The open office floor plan has impacted the modern office in many ways. People may think of the open office as a modern construct, but its idea emerged long ago on the heels of the Industrial Revolution. Just as factories changed the way the assembly line worked, the open office emerged as a way for managers of clerical workers to organize their spaces. But for people today, the open office brings about a number of benefits that make it seem less like a factory and more like a collaborative way for teams to work together.
Benefits From the Rise of the Open Office
The open office brings with it a number of advantages over having partitioned workspaces. Some of these include:
- Collaboration – Workers who can work together or easily reach out to each other for help may find that open offices bring a sense of community that partitioned spaces do not.
- Cost Savings – Although workers may benefit from cost savings tangentially, managers and company owners may see the open office as a more cost-effective layout than giving each employee their own office.
- Promotes Transparency – The open office promotes enhanced collaboration between managers and their team. This provides the manager a greater ability to understand the workflow and how well their teams are engaged on a daily basis and better manage work. As a result, the office is more productive and any workflow issues are easier to address because they are more likely to come to light if the team works together in an open, collaborative manner.
- Promotes Fairness – Many open offices have built-in equality because executives might work alongside junior employees, giving the office environment a sense that employees are all in it together rather than one group of people works for the other.
The Future of the Modern Office
The open office is just the first step towards a workplace that is not only cognizant of employee’s needs, but is evolving in such a way to create a productive, healthy environment. Ultimately, employers are looking for ways to stand out from the competition and providing benefits in the workplace to employees that go beyond a collaborative environment.
Interior designers who focus on workspaces are focusing on ethonomics which focuses on ethical economies. In other words, there is a new awareness and cultural shift towards understanding the connection between human and environmental health.
Here are a few ways the workplace is changing with ethonomics at its core:
- Focus on Employee Well-Being – Ten years ago, it might not have dawned on employers that a healthy workplace is a happy workplace. Many now use employee wellness programs to encourage workers to take care of themselves, providing health assessments, fun activities to promote health, and nutritious foods to power their day. Activities like yoga or massages at work that were once unheard of are now commonplace.
- Adapting to a Flexible, Mobile Workforce – Work culture has shifted, along with technology, in such a way that many jobs can be done on the go. Employers understand this and have made changes to the workplace to allow for this. Some offer hot desking, which allows employees to work where they want from portable laptops. Others employ technology that allows workers to take business calls wherever they go.
- Redefining Work as a Family-Friendly Aspect of Life – As more and more households have two income earners, employers have grown to understand that they must adapt with society. While some employers offer more flexible scheduling for parents, others have on-site childcare and operate in such a way that encourages families to be part of an organization rather than separate work and life. While this aspect of the changing workplace brings a number of cultural shifts, it is nonetheless something that must be considered as the modern office evolves.
Whether you want to breathe new life into your workspace with an open office or simply want other options, NewSpace Business Interiors can help! Our team can help create a mainstream office environment that places importance on collaboration while also giving employees a way to work independently. Contact NewSpace Business Interiors today for more information.