Bright, open and airy office spaces, filled with splashes of color and eclectic decor are growing in popularity. Open offices are embraced by various industries as a way to attract top employees and boost productivity. But is an open design a good idea for your Boston Metro office needs?
According to an article in the Washington Post, about 70% of American offices today have either no partitions, or have low-profile partitions. The former egg-crate packing of desks and cubicles has given way to open work tables, brainstorm space, and recreation areas.
Ideally, open offices promote transparency, enhance accessibility to management and co-workers, and foster creative thinking. Open offices also make it easier to keep an eye on what your employees are up to on company time. Another plus is maximizing your floor plan; getting rid of bulky cubicles and partitions frees up square footage.
However, there are some offsets. A workplace study by Elsevier found that employees in open office spaces were more prone to be distracted, and were more likely to complain about noise. Employees were also uncomfortable with the lack of privacy at their workstations, which in turn made it more difficult for them to focus. Add in things like the spread of coughing and sneezing during the typical flu season, wafting perfumes and colognes, and a co-worker eating microwaved salmon next to you, and the charm of an open office wears thin.
This isn’t to say that open offices aren’t a good thing; each business must find a balance of open office space and workplace privacy that best suits their operational needs. For example, if you have employees who are frequently on the telephone with clients, traditional cubicles make sense for soundproofing and employee focus. This also helps ensure your clients aren’t overhearing the raucous, spontaneous meeting of your brilliant, but freewheeling marketing team.
If the type of work in your office includes employees accessing sensitive client information, such medical, financial or legal data, it may be wise to allow a good measure of employee privacy. While computer access and usage can be monitored, it’s harder to control the glance of wandering passerby.
In the above scenarios, you can still offer open breakout space that lends itself to group brainstorming and peer collaboration. You can apply the use of color, natural light, friendly decor and comfortable furnishings to give your employees a mood-lifting environment and pleasant atmosphere.
Being a competitive Boston Metro employer doesn’t require you to copy all office trends from Silicon Valley. Your Boston Metro office space layout should reflect the operational priorities of your business – while giving your employees oasis areas.
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