Keep an Open Mind About Open Offices

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  • 3/11/2015
    Everyone knows that the best office is an open office, right? The wall-less floor plan has been widely adopted in the last decade—and not only by advertising, fashion and other industries that put a priority on creativity. In fact, upwards of 70% of today’s businesses have open floor plans.

    Business leaders as diverse as Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg endorse the open office as promoting collaboration, interaction and increased productivity. However, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that the loss of privacy and additional distractions actually lead to a loss of productivity in the workplace that offsets the benefits. 

    So, where does that leave us?

    Despite the backlash against open floor plans, I believe they still have their benefits. If you’re on the fence about opening up your office, here are some suggestions thunder::tech has learned firsthand with our open footprint:

    > Define your territory. While the environment at thunder::tech is very open and airy, each team has its own designated area. This provides each department with a feeling of ownership and the ability to customize their environment to suit their own needs and personality.
    > Give people a place to escape. thunder::tech has several isolated workspaces where a team member can hunker down, tune out the world and get stuff done. We also have standing desks scattered around the office to provide team members with an easy change of view.
    > Allow downtime. An open environment means that you’re always on display… to counter this, create an atmosphere where team members don’t feel like their every move is being evaluated. The result is a more relaxed, productive workforce that’s allowed to take a break, check email or make a personal call once in a while.

    Clearly, the open model works better for some businesses than others. But if you’re about to counteract some of the negatives and embrace the positives, it just might be for you.

    This article originally appeared in thunder::tech's Creative Update, one of our industry-based email distributions. To subscribe to any of our five offerings, please visit our Subscription Center.

    About the author::
    Craig Israel is the Creative Director at thunder::tech. When he isn’t helping strategize, envision, and execute amazing marketing and advertising solutions, he’s probably being pelted by pillows from his wife and two daughters.
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