At some point in your career you’ve probably worked in an optimized office space that was affectionately called a “cubicle farm.” If you aren’t familiar with the term, it describes a big open space filled with a cluster of cubes. If you were a more senior employee, you may have had an office (with a door that closed!) to hold private conversations or get a moment of quiet in a hectic environment. Most employees, however, worked in the hustle and bustle of a common space.
Office space planning over the past few years has focused more on open space designed to foster team work, brainstorming, and collaboration. But the reality, job performance, team morale, and employee well-being can often suffer in offices designed with a main work space that is wide open.
What may work for a team of younger professionals in a creative industry, may not make sense for a team of seasoned professionals in a more mainstream industry. If you’re looking to optimize space in your modular office for efficiency, creativity, or to promote teamwork, consider these pros and cons of the popular open office floor plan.
Pros of Open Office Space
accommodating more employees in a smaller office
building an organization based on collaboration and teamwork, rather than hierarchy
building an environment to promote problem solving
Cons of Open Office Space
close proximity to co-workers can be distracting, disruptive, or stressful
employees’ attention, productivity, and creativity may suffer
team members complain of lack of privacy and the inability to control their interactions and environment
Designing an Optimized Floor Plan
Successful optimization of your modular office space can be reached by designing a floor plan that strikes a balance between open spaces and private places; dedicated spaces for both collaborative and focused work.
In an optimized office space that is designed to be both cooperative and productive, the main work space can be kept as a communal space to encourage teamwork. However, a variety of quiet office spaces (anything from a small room suited for a single individual or larger meeting spaces) should also be included, where individuals or teams can escape behind a closed door to focus on a task or clear their minds in a less disruptive environment.
Modular office floor plans also allow you to easily optimize office space for future expansion. Not only can you change the internal layout to meet your employees’ needs, you can also transform your entire building. As your organization grows and your work space reaches maximum capacity, modular construction allows you to expand up or out by assembling additional office space to your current building.
Tell us about your current office space. Is it a true open space floor plan or a balance of open and private spaces? How does your team thrive in their environment?