If you like to think of yourself as a cutting edge kind of business leader with your ear to the ground listening for the latest innovations you have probably heard a lot of rumblings about the productivity factor of the open concept office. Like most business owners you want to encourage team work and see employees remain efficient and effective in their individual roles. That means it might seem less than possible an open concept design can actually be more productive. Of course it doesn’t work for all companies, or even for all departments. Here are some questions to ask your self about open concept office design:
What is my business all about?
This is probably the most important question. There are many business models that will embrace the open concept design because they are based on collaboration. Advertising agencies, events companies, marketing teams and even some customer service and support businesses do well as they are constantly interacting and working together to produce ideas or resolve problems. Architects, engineers and even educational services can also benefit from an open concept design. On the flipside if an ad agency has a writer who has just completed his collaborative meeting and is now faced with the task of writing copy on his own, suddenly that open concept isn’t so great when quiet and concentration are necessary to get the ideas into well written prose that will speak to consumers. An architect that might need to make calculations and figure out why he is short a meter in his living room is not going to like the open concept either. Thinking about what your employees have to accomplish collaboratively and solely will help you decide where open concept will and will not work.
Is it really more productive?
There are many examples of areas of business that do become more productive in an open concept layout, says Bellfort Services. For example, a support team for new software might have calls coming in throughout the day and may often encounter a new question that is a bit of a poser. In this case an open concept allows them to put a customer on hold spin around in his chair and give a shout out to the team to see if anyone else has encountered a like challenge. A team coming up with a creative concept or even a construction company who has run into a problem can work together to come up with solutions. Maybe it is a matter of offering collaborative work areas that also have privacy halfwalls or a general open concept with each person facing away from each other, but with a meeting area in the centre of their department.
What is my company culture?
Do you want to create an uprising where executives maintain their coveted private offices and the rest of the team is stuck in an open concept sans privacy? Are you a small close knit team that gets along and works well together? Is it a competitive climate with people vying for promotions and fighting for clients? Think about the culture you wish to nourish and decide if it will flourish or die in an open concept design.