As business practices develop and progress, the requirements of the office and the use of space will develop and progress accordingly. The popularity of open plan office spaces have increased dramatically in recent years as companies look to new methods of improving productivity. The importance of maintaining a happy workforce has been described as the driving force behind the development of open plan offices, with the social element of the workplace becoming the focal point of the new layouts.
It's thought that open plan offices were initially developed to allow managers to keep a closer eye on their employees, but as practices changed over time and more workers gained increased autonomy this became less of a priority. Instead the focus was shifted onto creating open and sociable working groups. Clusters of desks became a popular site, with teams of up to six or eight people working together and embracing the social side of the workplace. The office is now a fine balancing act: encourage the sociability of a relaxed team atmosphere, whilst maintaining a productive and efficient workforce.
One effective method for maintaining this balance is the use of desk mounted screens. By dividing clusters of workers and creating obviously individual workstations within a team environment, clear boundaries can be set. This encourages workers to be separate and to work individually, but in maintaining proximity to other workers they still have the social element of their team atmosphere. This also helps to encourage positive relationships around the office - as friendships can develop and make everyone's work life more enjoyable and thus boost productivity. Equally however, people can of course just as easily not get along. Working in close proximity with the same people can lead to disagreements or feuds, so it's also important to manage the nature of these relationships to prevent them from becoming counter productive. Again, the open plan office is a balancing act - which it's very important to get right!
Your needs for an open plan office will generally depend on the nature of your business: your need for privacy, how relaxed the environment is and how well you want to be able to watch over your employees (not that you'd ever admit to it!). Whatever structure and ethos you want to create around your office, we can help you to achieve it. All you have to do is let us know what you're trying to achieve and let us do the rest! We have a free space planning and CAD service that can help you create the office of your dreams - whether that means it's open plan or not!