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The Benefits Of Modern Workspace Design And How To Apply Them

Posted

Irdeto Office, Sydney.

The modern workplace has changed. As little as a few years back, offices could get by with employees being in their individual cubicles, wasting away at their uncomfortable office chairs. Workers would only get up for short breaks to the restroom, with their sole interactions with their colleagues in the hallways, at the water cooler, or in the coffee room. In other words, a clean, sterile environment, designed to facilitate maximum efficiency.

Those concepts have been turned on their head. More and more offices are ditching the limiting cubicle layout and using open plan offices, which were more popular in the latter half of the 20th century.

 What are the benefits of such a design? Let’s find out.

  • 1. Increased communication and interaction
  • ­­By breaking down the literal walls between individual employees, the figurative walls come tumbling down as well. With everyone at their own desk and facing each other, interactions will naturally follow, allowing for collaboration and the exchange of new ideas. Your employees will be able to become better colleagues, letting them easily work on projects together, which should result in faster turnaround times for certain tasks.
  • Sure, this increased interaction will result in increased noise levels as well, but we live in an age where we can create our own aural privacy with ubiquitous music players whether using our phones or our workstations.
  • 2. Democratization of office hierarchy
  • When you apply an open plan office, make sure that it includes you as well. Another pitfalls of the open plan office from fifty years ago was that clerical workers (who unfortunately were usually women) were forced to sit in rows and rows of desks, all facing the same way, rather like a school. Their managerial superiors on the other hand (who unfortunately were usually men) got their own private offices, with the executives getting their very own corner offices.
  • This layout only serves to reinforce the structure of your workplace, and further creates a barrier between managers, executives, and employees. In implementing an open plan office, you must also be subject to its application. By sitting in the same space as your employees, you’ll be able to speak with them more. They can also approach you more freely, without the need for their working up the courage to knock on your door. Plus, you’ll be able to keep a closer eye on your workers—they have the right to some leisure, of course, but that needs to be tempered with some actual work too.
  • 3. It’s all about the economics
  • In an open plan office, you only need to worry about climate control and lighting for a handful of rooms, as opposed to one room for each employee. Construction and maintenance costs will also go down. The money that you save in using an open plan office can go towards improving the office quality of life for our employees, allowing you to introduce attractive factors like higher salaries, added benefits, and other incentives.

21st Century Additions

Actually, the cubicle system was devised as a reaction to the 20th-century open plan offices. They were seen as a compromise to the lack of privacy inherent in those open offices by providing employees a set of canvas walls and a “room” to call their own. However, these are actually worse than the open plan offices they sought to improve—in the office environment visual privacy is far less important than aural privacy. After all, you really are supposed to be working, and not browsing your social media or watching a funny Internet video. Let’s examine how you can improve the open plan office and avoid the negatives in its design.

  • 1. Use phenomenal office furniture
  • Considering that your employees will be spending a third of their lives at their desks, make sure that they’ll be comfortable. Invest in white office furniture, creating open, airy spaces. Seriously consider Eames chairs, which are ergonomic masterpieces, to facilitate improved workflow. If your workers actually enjoy their work spaces, then they have additional motivation to put the time into their projects.
  • 2. Implement various break areas
  • If the office space has no place for proper privacy, introduce spaces that do promote it. Use the space that you would have used for individual offices for communal break rooms, each with its own distinct flavor, to afford your employees the freedom of choice. You can have a room filled with bean bags, a more serious library-esque break room, and a fully stocked kitchen.
  • Plus, these break rooms are perfect spots for impromptu brainstorming sessions, as well as important project meetings. Make every area in your office as multifunctional as possible, and maximize the space that you have.
  • 3. Use planting
  • This may seem trite, but don’t underestimate the benefits of green in the office. Using plants serves several purposes, both physical and psychological. Plants help keep the air in your open office clean and fresh and separate areas such as receptions. A well-designed work space is also invigorating for your employees, reducing stress, tension, and anxiety. Plants will also reduce noise levels in the office, adding that much more to concentration.

Using an open plan office does have its drawbacks, particularly if you follow the practices used decades ago, but strike a modern balance and you’ll have a workplace that is collaborative, friendly, and above all, open and transparent. An office should be a well-oiled machine, and only when all of its parts work together can it run at full capacity.


Beautiful, Healthy & Productive Workplace Solutions

We create beautiful workspaces that uplift the wellbeing & performance of people and business.

Through interaction and collaboration ideas are born. Our products & solutions encourage interaction and collaboration, allowing your employees to be more happy and productive.

Our furniture designs inspire your employees and help bring your Company's ideas to life by encouraging spontaneous meetings and discussions through bench-style and standing desks, social areas & open lounge seating.

When people feel better — they work better! Inspire and stimulate your employees by getting rid of cubicles and other barriers to interaction.

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