10 May Addressing the Open Concept Office
The key to a well designed open concept office is to find the balance between dream and reality. The idea of having simple rectangular desks in pods with no dividers is snapped back into reality by noisey keyboards clacking for eight hours. How does one find the balance between six foot high cubicles and wide open spaces?
The first step is to talk to your employees about their office needs and any concerns they may have. If employees are on the phone most of their day, barriers would be an asset for acoustical considerations. If phone calls are mainly scheduled, then creating private alcoves near the workstations where employees can take calls is a possible solution. Some departments are not suited for this type of layout. Human Resources works with handling sensitive information and conducting private conversations; the need for private offices with closed doors is important for confidentiality. A group that works together on a daily basis, may appreciate lower barriers so they can collaborate without leaving their desks.
A semi-open concept office is suitable for many different scenarios. To achieve this, we shorten the panels and make them thinner. Thinner panels take up less space and have less visual weight. Also, reducing the height allows more light in, employees feel less enclosed and experience greater office moral. It even has economical benefits, as the less materials needed for building saves you money.
Solutions do not have to be implemented across the entire company. As different departments have different needs, they also need different workstation styles. Customized solutions ensure that all employees can have their best working environment to achieve optimal productivity and happiness.