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Closing Down Day? Why It’s Past Time You Overcame The Open-Plan Obsession

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

The open-plan office has been a business go-to for years now. Ever since its origination with silicon valley, we’ve been convinced this is THE way to do business. In fact, around 74% of offices had open-plan setups by 2014. Even now, millennial ‘trendy’ startups focus on the open plan, collaborative lifestyle like it’s going out of fashion. Which, incidentally, it is. 

Studies have been emerging for a while now to make us think that the open-plan setup might not be quite what it’s cracked up to be. While there’s no denying the benefits of an open social hub, many companies are now finding that an entirely open-plan focus does more harm than good for their bottom lines.  A study by Harvard business school last year even found that open-plan designs reduced face-to-face interactions by as much as 70%.  

As such, you might want to think about private office alternatives to boost business and team morale along with it. Luckily this isn’t a difficult goal to achieve. Structural engineers deal with structural matters and will be able to turn even your open office space into a more private affair with relatively little hassle or cost. Keep reading to find out why that could be worth your while. 

Productivity will skyrocket

Most notably, the installation of private offices should help you to see a significant boost in concentration, and thus productivity. By comparison, the noise and sheer distraction found in an open-plan setup can significantly set workers back. So much so that they could lose as many as a few working hours each day. That’s a whole lot of lost money on your part, and it’s no way to a happy workforce moving forward.

Admittedly, extroverts may well thrive best in a buzzing social environment, while introverts need quiet to get their heads down. With this in mind, offering the ideal mixture of work environments could be just what you need to get the most out of every single member of your team. 

Privacy will be easier to come by

Both workplace and client confidentiality are near enough impossible to come by when it comes to collaborative spaces. This can be problematic in a world where businesses are, rightly, going above and beyond to keep information safe. But, let’s face it; all your efforts at data compliance and cybersecurity go to waste the second an employee opens that confidential file in their open-plan workspace. This is especially a problem for companies dealing in sensitive information, such as law firms and accountants, but it’s something any company needs to think about.

By creating at least some private spaces in the workplace, you can guarantee that no one overhears or accidentally sees something that they shouldn’t. Finally, your team members will be able to meet with clients in private, as well as airing their concerns without everyone else hearing what they have to say,

via GIPHY

You’ll be better able to personalise spaces

Personalising workspaces according to an employee’s needs is a crucial part of boosting morale and workplace happiness, but it’s a goal that’s tough to come by alongside open plan. Perhaps the most evident example of this recently is the revelation that office thermostats are programmed to the needs of men, not women. But, similar examples can be found across the open plan landscape.

By comparison, private offices guarantee that employees can always personalise and perfect their private working spaces according to their needs. At last, team members will be able to choose their own temperature settings, design offices in a way that works best for them, and generally create a space that suits. This can, again, help a great deal with productivity, as well as making your office a much more pleasant space in which employees can work.

Tailor-made collaborations

Remember, too, the damage that open-plan does to workplace collaborations. If you want your team to work well together across departments or projects, putting them in a confined space isn’t the way to achieve the goal. Instead, your collaborative efforts are guaranteed to improve when you free employees to tailor collaborations on their terms. 

With a more private office setup, team members will need to seek each other out, book appointments at times that suit, and generally make an effort to arrange meetings that don’t set them back. This, rather than an enforced social environment, can transform your business, and lead to a much happier team to boot. 

All in all, we’d say these are each goals worth opting out of open offices for.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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