Tag Archives: Open Plan Offices

Employees choice key to successful workspaces

"Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice."  ~ William Jennings Bryan

Creating, redesigning, or adapting an office space is going to be a process that involves multiple choices. There's budget, planning, project management, office furniture and physical fit out; there's colour schemes and fabrics, work surfaces and lighting. You need to get it spot on because this is a direct reflection of your company. A scrappy, ill designed, budget working environment is going to leave an unwanted feeling amongst both your customers and your employees.

An ongoing debate in office design is that of open versus closed work spaces and the necessity of balancing places of collaboration and individuality within the office environment.

We've seen the unrelenting march of the open plan office environment morph into the prevalence of co-working spaces which have emerged as the millennial workforce began to dominate office culture. And there is talk of a backlash, a desire to return to private, more intimate and individual office spaces.

So what is the best option? Do we ditch the open plan environment? Do we scurry back to our own little enclosures? Or do we think of something else?

The Gensler (U.S.) Workplace Survey 2016 has given us an insight into not what designers feel is the best way of planning workplaces, but what the people who have to work in those offices actually want.

And what do they want? They want options. They want alternatives. They want choice.

Choice for employees will be key to the success of the workspace according to the report, which surveyed 4,000 professionals from 11 different industries and across different levels at U.S. companies.

The options most valued were the ability to access both sitting and standing desks, a choice in when/where to work, to be able to use conference rooms to socialise, to have café facilities on site and to have use of outdoor spaces.

Not all businesses are going to be able to provide all of the facilities that their employees would like to have - but in any company listening to the needs and wants of your staff, and accommodating those desires as best you can, will have a positive effect across the board.

Open Plan Office Etiquette

If you have even a passing interest in office design you can’t fail to have noticed headlines such as “The Demise Of The Open Plan Office”. Whether we have seen the back of the open plan office or not, if you are stuck working in one at the moment you need to know how to make the best if the environment that you have.

Top 5 Rules of Open-Plan Office Etiquette:

Ssshhhh....: Keep the noise level to a minimum. This is the number one rule in an open plan environment. Don’t raise your voice during in-person conversations or whilst on the telephone. Take conversations (especially extended ones) away from the work area. If music helps you work, listen with headphones.

Pongtastic? Keep the smell level to a minimum. Of course it is up to you what you choose to eat, but remember that foods with strong smells, such as fish, eggs, oranges etc can make colleagues a little uncomfortable. Keep perfumes or after shaves to a minimum as well as pungent air fresheners. On the other end of the scale, nobody wants to sit next to someone who hasn't washed for a while....

Can't Find It: Keep your desk tidy. A disorganised and untidy desk is distracting and unprofessional. Apart from being an eyesore for others who share your space, clutter can be stressful. An open space might mean you have to forgo your own storage space, but there are other ways to stay organised. You should treat your work station as if it were a hot desk - at a moment's notice someone else could jump into your space and have the ability to work there.

Add Doors: Keep personal spatial barriers. Just because everyone is sitting out in the open it doesn’t follow that everyone is available at all times. People are under deadlines and are trying to focus. Imagine that there are office doors between people, and don’t just approach somebody for conversation (work related or otherwise) without first ask whether he or she is available.

Outside Your Box: Keep communal spaces in mind. Working in an open office requires you to share more than just space. There are printers and scanners; waste receptacles and drinks machines; kitchen areas and lights. Don't leave it to "someone else" when the paper needs refilling, the ink needs changing, the lights need to go out or the bin is overflowing. Don't leave piles of washing up in the sink, or the coffee pot on when it's empty. Be the kind of office worker that you would like to work alongside.

20sixltd can help optimise your current office space or assist in a total redesign - please get in touch to see how we can help you to make the most of the work space that you have.