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The Wave of Negativity About Open Office Design and When It Can Work

There’s a recent trend in more companies switching to an open office landscape. Recent research discovered about 70% of US offices are an open concept. As this number grows, so do the employee’s opinions about open office designs.

Disadvantages of an Open Office Layout:

A consequence of open office environments is the growing concerns and negative views from employees themselves. When asked about the disadvantages of open office concepts, an overwhelming majority stated noise as their biggest complaint. It’s true that noise can be a big factor in staying focused, multitasking, and productivity. Small distractions prohibit employees from being fully focused, and as a result, make it harder and less enjoyable to do their jobs.

There is a reason people enjoy private rooms: better focus. Physical barriers, such as four walls, have been directly linked to psychological privacy. People feel more focused when they’re alone, with no distractions. As a result, most employees feel negatively towards open office landscapes. Less predominant complaints included decreased attention span and an increase in the likelihood of getting sick. Employees prefer total quietness to stay focused and have begun to negatively view open office layouts due to lack of privacy and noise interference.

Benefits of Open Work Environments:

Open office designs aren’t entirely bad and there are many reasons why more companies have begun to embrace them. Open office concepts have proven to be helpful in many ways including increased creativity, a sense of community within an organization, and increased communication and collaboration. A traditional office hinders open communication between all levels of a company and has been a leading reason to switch to an open concept. Employees feel more included and their opinions and ideas valued when they’re able to easily communicate them. Open office designs also take away from the hierarchy of private offices and level the field for every employee.

With sound privacy being the primary complaint, companies have started working on solutions. More offices have started creating private rooms specifically for brainstorming, private calls, and an increased sense of privacy. Private rooms have greatly increased employee satisfaction as it gives them the option for privacy when they need it. New open office designs usually include wide-open workspaces, smaller sections for teamwork, and private rooms for conferences and meetings. These new improvements in open offices help to eliminate the complaints and negative views, while still benefiting from the favorable reasons open office layouts work.

Think positively about your open office design and embrace the added creativity and collaboration with coworkers. Allow the open space concept to become a brainstorming haven for you and your team members to communicate and achieve success.

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