Private or Shared workspace?
It is a topic of contention to discuss the superiority of private versus a shared workspace. Some prefer the seclusion, privacy and focus that a closed off office space can offer, while many others enjoy the creativeness and how sociable an open workspace can provide.
Office layout my have certain restrictions depending on the company’s capabilities and/or industry; however even slight changes can make a huge difference when you take into account office work-flow, behavioural patterns and habits of the workers affected by it. For example, bean bags and bright colours may not suit a team of accountants who need to get on with their work, but it may suit an R&D team thinking of new innovations. Furthermore, an inclusion of a simple quiet space for some private time can have a huge impact for employee productivity and levels of happiness.
Rows of desks with people sitting opposite is the classic open plan office structure definitely has its merits, such as being able to discuss issues with others in the office quickly when required, it also may lead to further innovation and solutions to problems. However for every questioner there has to be a willing person to answer, and if the questioner is constantly pestering their colleagues, their increase in productivity may be out shadowed by the frustration and distractions they place on the office. If people flat out don’t get on it could also create a negative atmosphere for both individuals and also spread to the whole office.
Having a closed off office space allows people to get on with their work and develop their ideas on their own. This allows them to personalise their space to feel comfortable and not feel any social pressure, however should be monitored in some way as to avoid the possible plague of slacking that is particularly prevalent in this structure. You could say that playing a radio could negate any tense silences in the open plan office space, however even that cannot completely drown out non-stop typing that radiates from every corner of the space (without the best acoustics structure anyway).
A good structure in a constantly changing industry is the free-flowing space design, which revolves around a lot of open space and closed space areas where people can come and work wherever and whenever they want. However again this is susceptible to slacking even more so, but you could say with the emergence of online monitoring software and techniques of managers on online employees this should be little problem.
You could say that this combines the open and closed benefits by having separate spaces for both, however with less choice of natural light and personal space that only stretches so far, it could lead to lowered levels of satisfaction and productivity.
All of these structures have their own benefits and suit different company styles, so it really does change from business to business. Check out some case studies of businesses we’ve helped find the perfect style for them here.