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Open Workspaces

We live in a world where it is becoming increasingly likely to see a company utilizing an open office space for workers to carry out their occupational duties. I know what you’re thinking: “That’s got to be some millennial new age way of thinking.” I can assure you that this is not though. This is not some up-and-coming trend – it is the real deal. In fact, the rise in open workspaces has now expanded to the point where around 60% of companies in North America are implementing this method of working. You heard that right, 60%!

These open floor plan workstations are kicking traditional occupational settings to the curb and they’re allowing working professionals to use their office space in a more personally-centric way that caters to their needs. Not to mention, open floor plan workstations are responsible for finally tearing down those proverbial hierarchy walls that traditional office settings foster. By being able to reduce these barriers, employees and professional are beginning to collaborate with one another and share knowledge.

When you think about it, an open floor plan workstation is vital towards building the foundational core of your corporate structure. Instead of having different individuals cooped in an office or personal workspace as if they are subservient or something, you now have individuals working alongside one another and building chemistry. Co-workers begin to trust one another, get to know each other better, pick each other’s brains about different projects, and overall enjoy their time spent at the office. However, any situation is susceptible to drawbacks and the following will explain the variances between the two.

Your Private Office and You, A Tale of Privacy & Interrupted Workflow:

If you’re like me, you regard private time as a blessing and a means of concentration. When you have a private office, it is essentially the same concept. You come to work and you have the ability to sit at your cubicle or in your office, open up your computer and concentrate on your goals for the day. The confines of this space is what awards you the ability to cut out any distractions and privatize your work experience. You can take phone calls in private, handle important/confidential matters in seclusion and cut yourself off from any nonsense.

The privacy can keep your productivity levels at a very high rate because your attention is focused on the work at hand, but it can also keep you away from all the hustle and bustle that an office can contain. Let’s face it: between the constant ringing of phones, the talking and gossip of your co-workers and the usually distractions that pass your doorway/workspace – it’s hard to get anything done sometimes.

However, while the isolation here seems like it’s a gift from above, at the same time it can also be a major drawback that has an effect on your work. Not only does it effectively strangulate communication with the coworkers in your office, but it also takes away your ability to collaborate on demand.

Open Workspaces Provide Endless Collaboration & Communication:

Do you remember your college days where you would go to work in the student lounge? Well, think of the open workspace concept as a giant student lounge where you have the ability to work amongst one another and pick each other’s brains at any given moment. When you tear down those cubicle walls and replace them with an open concept, you allow a free-flowing commitment to collaboration and teamwork to completely take effect. You can now encourage an office structure that counts on team meetings, brainstorm sessions and fluid communication – all of which are important factors for success.

I don’t think that anyone can personally dispute the ideology behind receiving various sources of feedback throughout the day, so hearing the opinions of your peers whenever you need it is important. Now while this may mean that you are susceptible to more distractions and disruptions, you take the good with the bad and realize that communication and chemistry amongst peers outweighs the cons. Sure, there are going to be many off-topic conversations that arise, but at the same time you are building a rapport with the people you see five days a week.

Lastly, open workspaces are entirely cost-efficient and a means of cutting overhead. By outfitting the space to have a more open concept with couches and tables, you are effectively eliminating the amount of money it would take to create offices and cubicles. Typically thees open floor concepts thrive in a setting that has natural light, so cutting that overhead is important and also extremely healthy.