It is no secret that the open-concept workspace is the latest craze in office design. Huge companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook have created more modern, and fun environments, with the belief that this design can improve productivity and promote collaboration.
By no means are individual offices and cubicles are a thing of the past, an increasing amount of companies are opting to forgo the traditional office spaces for these modern designs. For employees, these new floor plans can be both intimidating and exciting. That said, some employees may prefer to work in a quiet and private space in order to stay focused, while others enjoy and appreciate the new opportunities that these modern floor plans offer.
If you are considering designing an open concept workspace or office but are not sure where to start? Read on for some tips on how to introduce this open concept to your office, while making it as comfortable as possible for people of all preferences.
Make Sure that You Include Separate Conference and Collaborative Areas
In order to ensure that your communal and collaborative work area is to ensure that there is still a designated space for meetings. A fantastic and easy way to do this is to place a conference or collaborative work area away from the specific work area. By setting up a closed-off, a separate area will provide a space for employees to hold meetings and discuss projects without distracting others around them.
While an open office floor plan can improve productivity and foster creativity, instead of being closed off in cubicles, employees have the ability to easily discuss ideas with one another in an open, productive, and collaborative environment. However, to ensure employees are comfortable in this public work environment, you should clearly define open office etiquette and provide a variety of work areas. This will provide comfort to those who prefer to work on their own. These spaces can be easily separated – while still keeping that open feel through the use of glass doors and office room dividers.
Establish Open Office Etiquette
From day one, make sure that your open office rules are clear and specific. For example, make it clear that yelling across the office in an attempt to get a coworker’s attention is entirely unacceptable. Let employees know that an open, collaborative environment doesn’t mean that they can interrupt other employees’ work whenever they need something.
In order to ensure that all of your employees are comfortable in your collaborative office space, your employees should never be in a position where they can make the assumption that their coworkers are merely available to chat. When they randomly stop by a coworker’s desk, it is crucial that they understand that they are likely interrupting their train of thought. It is also vital that you ensure all of your employees are aware of respectful behavior in an open office. Simple things, for example, can be easily forgotten, such as not tapping their pen on the desk, keeping their cell phone ringers on loud, or even maintaining good hygiene can improve the effectiveness of your open office floor plan.
Utilize a Communication System
In order to encourage a quiet and productive work environment, it is essential to encourage employees to communicate online if they have to discuss a project or ask questions. Tons of great apps can benefit those who work in collaborative office spaces, Gchat, email, or other types of messaging are significant options that employees can use to avoid disrupting others’ work. Systems such as Google Talk, Digsby, and Apple Messages are also fantastic tools that employees can utilize in order to interact while maintaining a quiet, open environment.