Say Hi to Open Plan Offices

Open Plan office is a trend that is catching on lately and has become the norm across modern cities. These offices are favored by companies largely because of economic factors - more employees can be housed in a smaller space. But, besides that there are also obvious communication benefits because people are not bounded by cabins and walls. The idea is that open spaces foster more communication between staff and boost community spirit.

A private office is so classy and peaceful—and much like a 1960s ad exec’s ashtray stand and desk-side minibar cart, it’s increasingly becoming a relic of the past. 

Open plans are only being used for administrative employees or call center workers but are also being introduced in offices of professions such as law and medicine. Franklin Becker, director of International Workplace Studies Program at Cornell, mentions a colleague’s organization in California that wants to put new doctors in an open-plan environment.

One major motivation behind open plans is to cut costs. Cubicles and open workstations fit more employees into less space. You surely cannot think of a better way to  put a person into a 6-by-8 closed office very comfortably, it is like a prison cell, but you can easily sit in 6 by 8, 6 by 6, or a 6-by-4-foot desk in an open-plan environment. Open plans can substantially reduce the amount of space you need for your employees.

Since the 1970s and '80s, office layouts are shifting to open-plan models that include more co-working spaces with less emphasis on private individual offices. These models caught because more popular during the dot-com boom and more recently with the non-traditional workplaces of technology startups.

Other reasons for the layout shift are that an open-plan environment provides more opportunities for collaboration, both planned and spontaneous. Layout shift also induces a sense of community among employees. One study by Harvard Business Review found an enormous increase in workplace productivity: “Companies that encourage collaboration by switching from closed-offices to open-offices realize performance increases by 440%.”

Advantages of Open plan offices

1. Cost Effective

An Open Plan office setting certainly cuts down unnecessary costs which you know you don’t really need. For example, electricity and heating bills are cut down drastically due to smaller space and more use of the same space.

It can also accommodate more employees particularly if the business expands and you do not wish or may not be able to relocate.

2. Improves Communication and Knowledge sharing

Open Plan offices make communicating with co-workers and working with colleagues much more efficient and easier. It allows ideas to flow freely with everybody being in the same room and helps the various roles in the office come together effectively.

This helps in promoting an overall positive work atmosphere with a good professional and personal relationship between colleagues, helping with the overall morale of the office. It also encourages them to work as a team as opposed to isolated working in separate offices.

3. Allows Different Departments to Merge Together

It’s easier to delegate, discuss ideas and carry out tasks if everyone needed is in close proximity. It makes for much smoother running of the business and gets jobs done far quicker than if everyone was in separate offices.

4. Flexibility

Open Plan offices encourages dynamism making an organization easily adaptable to new changes and reforms.

5. Encourages Socialization

We all know just one person cannot win a match. It requires the support and effort of the whole team. With Open Plan offices, employees get to interact with each other more and socialize on both personal and professional levels and hence develop an understanding which brings them together and encourages team effort.

Before Introducing Open Plan Office

All the planning for new open office won’t do much good if the employees don’t take full advantage of the spaces. When introducing open office plan to employees, it’s important to incorporate a change management program. Someone in the office should understand the reasons for the layout choices and its benefits, so they can properly introduce them to the team.

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