The idea of an open office space is one of the most divisive arguments among office workers. Some people love the way open offices can facilitate collaboration and socialization, while others hate the distractions it presents.
Despite workers being divided on the open office trend, business owners love it. Open offices are significantly cheaper to build and maintain than any other format. They are also flexible as a company grows or when more workers telecommute. For companies that want to take advantage of an open work environment, there are ways to increase workers’ excitement about the idea. Here’s how:
- Foster an open work culture. An open work environment will not be a great option for offices where people don’t feel they can be open with their coworkers. If employees are worried about being overheard or can be hostile toward their coworkers’ ideas, then an open office can turn into a nightmare. To facilitate an open work culture, begin by encouraging collaboration and socialization among employees.
- Create flex spaces. An open environment doesn’t work best for every work activity. Taking phone calls in a public space or conducting meetings can be disruptive to people working at their desks. While the majority of an office can be open, it’s important to still provide employees with spaces where they can go to have private conversations or focus without distraction. This can be a few private offices and meeting rooms or even small, soundproof phone booths.
- Be smart with the layout. If the point of an open workspace is to facilitate collaboration, then the layout should ensure that workers are near their teammates and immediate supervisors. An open workspace is also an opportunity to help different teams coordinate quickly. If a worker is struggling, a shift to an open workspace might be a good time to put him or her near a mentor.
- Create some ground rules. There should be clear rules about what is done in the common area and what isn’t. Long, personal side conversations should be reserved for the kitchen or rec area. Meetings should happen in meeting rooms. Workers shouldn’t play music or eat at their desks, as some people may find it distracting.
At LBMC Employment Partners, we specialize in helping companies make transitions. Whether your company is just changing its office space or if it is adopting a whole new company philosophy, LBMC EP can help make that transition smoother and more effective. To learn more contact LBMC Employment Partners today.