In General

An office design can go one of two ways – it can make people feel creative and energized, or it can make them feel dull and stressed.

This is the question of designing your office: how do you create the most productive environment you can?

Companies have tried all sorts of things. In the 1970s, and up until the 90s, we saw cubicles. Now, you say that to a millennial and they’ll go running!

That said, companies have opted for “open office plans”, when there are little to no partitions. Going around Portland and Vancouver, you’d have trouble finding an office that doesn’t have this layout.

That plan is starting to become less popular, though, in favor of more innovative designs. As you consider an open office design, you may want to keep these in mind:

Pros

  • More collaboration and transparency. Offices thrive on open communication. That means nothing happens behind closed doors (or maybe just some things). You can also ask quick questions and share ideas freely. Managers and team leaders are more approachable – there isn’t that barrier of having to “knock and enter”.
  • Some teams thrive off a high energy environment. This goes for industries like sales and marketing, where you often get up-tempo atmospheres.

  • Saves money. Especially true for heating/cooling and electricity. It also maximizes space, and allows you to not worry about finding space for new hires.

  • More socializing. This can contribute to higher work satisfaction, when team members can laugh and joke with each other.

Cons

  • Noisier, no privacy. While laughing and joking is nice, there also comes a time when people need to hunker down and work. Or, if one employee is on a deadline, but everyone else has free time, this can result in frustration. Some people also don’t like others hearing their phone calls, or conversations.
  • Lose the ‘hierarchy’. This is more common for Boomers, but some employees like that they had to work hard to get a window or corner office. It could provide incentive.
  • Getting everyone to agree on things. It’s hard to get 30 people to agree on the same temperature, or type of music. What do you do in these situations?

You can find the happy medium

The argument is pulled equally in both directions. How do you build a space that encourages collaboration yet also allows for privacy?

Fortunately, there are ways to accommodate both.

We’ve seen offices that have dedicated spaces for different environments. You might have a “quiet room” partitioned off, with the rest of the office being used for collaborating and socializing. Some places have “office neighborhoods”, where people come and go temporarily based on what project they’re working on.

Take Your Team Into Account

Your office layout will be best suited for the type of work you do and the personalities within it. And hey, it might take some redesigns to get it right.

In that, we have extensive experience moving walls and partitions. We can even help in discussing what would work best for your office. Schedule a consultation with G&C Construction to go over your challenges and design goals.

copper wire