A growing number of organizations of all sizes – from small businesses to large enterprises – have implemented, or are thinking/planning of implementing, an open office design. This is a layout in which employees are co-located in a shared space and environment.
Aside from enabling cross-functional teams to interact, collaborate and share knowledge, an open office design is relatively less costly to implement and maintain than a conventional environment. For example, a single cubicle (which according to a research study most employees do not like at al!) can cost thousands of dollars, and connectivity and cabling costs for various networks (e.g. phone, internet, intranet, etc.) are also much higher.
What’s more, an open office design can be significantly more productive and profitable. Below we highlight 3 practical tips to achieve these key business objectives:
1. Use Movable Furniture
One of the most beneficial aspects of an open office design is that the environment can be re-configured to suit changing needs. For example, the space may be used to provide a training seminar or hold a brainstorming session. However, to take advantage of this aspect, the furniture must be easily and quickly movable.
2. Use Seating Alternatives
The warning that “sitting is the new smoking” is not an exaggeration. Not only is it a drain on productivity and performance, but it can even be fatal. A study at the University of Sydney revealed that prolonged sitting is a risk-factor for all-cause mortality.
To address this problem, consider using seating alternatives such as sit-stand desks, kneeling chairs, or even treadmill chairs. While such furniture would be difficult (if not impossible) to fit in a traditional office configuration, it can usually fit easily in an open office environment.
3. End Assigned Seating
According to the Wall Street Journal, employees who can sit wherever they need to vs. an assigned desk or workstation are often more productive, and they collaborate more effectively and efficiently as well. For example, while working together to serve a shared customer, sales and finance teams can temporarily work together to share notes and deliver a consistent message. When the need to co-locate finishes (or temporarily pauses), employees can re-assign themselves accordingly.
Of course, to make this work, ensure that there are no “preferred zones” in the environment, or else this will limit mobility and re-assignment. For example, if one area of the open office has strong Wifi access while another has weak, then individuals and teams will covet the former and avoid the latter. The same holds if the HVAC and lighting system is agreeable in one part of the office but unpleasant in another, or if noise levels are too high in some parts vs. others.
To learn more about how to make your open office design more productive and profitable, contact the Key Interiors team today. Your consultation with us is free.
For more information on if an open and collaborative office design is right for your business, download our FREE eBook: