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Is an open floor plan right for your office?

Jan 29, 2014 7:48:37 AM / by

13-0004893.jpgThe recent trend in office layouts is an open floor plan, where employees work in low panel or even open stations. The concept behind this open plan is to foster collaboration among employees.  In a recent article on The New Yorker’s website titled “The Open-Office Trap” written by Maria Konnikova, she discuses how employees who work in an open floor plan are less productive than their counterparts who have their own workstation. (source: The New Yorker, 2014)

Since I started with Phillips, I've had my own work space. With the various projects in marketing it is nice to be able to use the variety of spaces in our office.  Since our office is a working showroom, we have always had meeting spaces where employees can meet to share ideas as well as private work spaces.  In regards to the article, I asked our Workplace Interiors team of experts for their opinion, here is what they had to say:

"Quiet areas need to be available to do focused work & available for employees.  Quiet zones if employees cannot move need to be established.Open plan departmentally can be positive to share information & improve communication with proper etiquette in place & a buy in from the employees and managers." - Luana

"I agree with what the study says about too many distractions affecting productivity.  Different types of work demand different levels of concentration. I know that people do like to have some control over their environments." - Cerise

"If an employee is doing autonomous work, then an open environment could be a detriment to their concentration, whereas when doing collaborative work, this type of environment is a necessity." - Missy

 "Private offices/cubicles may be the best solution for your organization if the work that is being performed is of confidential in nature and your work requires quiet so that you can concentrate.  If you work in a team environment and you work collaboratively with one another most of the day then open office concept may be for your company." - Samantha

 "I think that there are plus’s and minus’s to the open system.  It opens up communication between co-workers which helps build relationships and teamwork, but it also opens the door to more distractions.  I think that the type of people, the type of department, and the type of business are major factors in whether it will work efficiently." - Bill

 "My feelings are that an employee needs to be provided various options for their workday.  Each role during a typical day changes and I believe that as furniture consultants, we can identify these changing roles and make the work environments flexible to adapt to the best surroundings and tools for each activity." - Kirsten

"The key is to control when and where collaboration takes place. Control of ones work environment is essential. A private space personalized to support work tasks is key. A separate collaborative space must also be readily accessible." - Tim

We'd love to hear from you, leave your comments below.

Topics: Tips and Resources, Workplace Interiors

Michael Brandt

Written by Michael Brandt

I’m Michael Brandt and I write about a number of topics including events, activities and marketing. I also share ideas and tips, I’ve learned while working at Phillips. I'm an outdoor adventurer who loves the smell of pine, campfires and dirt. @mikebrandt13

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