An open office plan is like a paradigm shift from the traditional private cubicle culture, but how healthy is this habit for companies, and their employees? Certainly, this plan has pressing reasons to get adopted; such as encouraging collaboration among employees; as well as cost saving, among others.
Many tech giants and innovative start-ups in Silicon Valley are adapting to the open office trend; slowly making the cubicles seem as useless as a telegram machine. What was once created in Germany, around 1950, has become an increasingly popular trend in the U.S., in the past few years. A large number of CEO’s believe that when walls go down, communication goes up.
The biggest benefit for new start-ups inclined towards an open office workspace, is the potential cost-savings. With less number of foot-space per square-feet, and less furniture and equipment requirements; more green notes can be stocked in the pockets, or maybe used for other essential purposes. Despite of this fact, it is notable that corporate behemoths like Facebook and Google don’t essentially need cost cutting; which states that there are many other benefits down the line.
Bonds Increase when Walls Decrease
Out of the many reasons for a beneficial open office culture, the main is, having better bonds with employees. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg; the CEO of Facebook, essentially sits around his employees, dresses up like one of them, works around them, and communicates with even the entry-level workers, and that makes him a phenomenal and most loved CEO of the our time. He believes that his employees are his family, and treats them with respect and oneness.
Thus, if a CEO breaks down the walls of his personal cabin and opens up more to his employees; his troupe will welcome this culture change with open arms. Now, who doesn’t want to feel like being a part of the whole vision, rather than just robotically working for it? Make your employees your clan, by giving them the warmth they deserve, by providing them with your availability.
When you are more available to your ‘office family’, the bonds that you create with them involuntarily increases. Banish those walls to create better bonds. You can also check the offices of Google and Facebook on the Internet, where a more open culture of working is adopted.
Open Space helps Diminish Creative Boundaries
There are many other advantages of working in a more collaborative environment some of which are-
- Cabins and cubicles require the employees to walk in and think twice before disturbing their bosses; while in an open office ideas can be shared instantly, at the moment it springs to someone.
- Working in an open office, where walls acting like barriers are ripped down; makes everyone available at any given moment, leading to prompt completion of projects and tasks on-hand.
- It may sound crazy, but working in a silent environment invites fatigue and boredom, and thus decreases productivity for people working in creative job profiles, who need a bit of sound around. On the other hand, an open office can create basic sound levels lending to increased productivity. A slight hustle-bustle can put across the idea of a productive work environment, helping to create the same. Of course, it is up to the HR to filter and maintain these noise levels in the work-space.
- While cubicles and cabins emphasize on creating individual space and individualism, an open office culture propagates a more collaborative approach. Discussing important issues on-the-go, sharing ideas, easily approachable executives, and instant meetings, are some of the many benefits of working in an open workspace.
Each Coin has Two Sides
Even while the open office culture has its own advantages, it also comes with a flip-side. The model which is meant to proliferate a more friendly, and collaborative culture; has faced its own share of backlashes in the recent times. It turns out that the open office culture has both sides of a coin, depending on how your organization envisions it, and creates an environment based on it.
Several studies over years have observed that, if not maintained or filtered in an apt manner, a noise level beyond a specified limit disturbs the working capabilities of employees’, proving to be a distraction. Additionally, for people who prefer their own space, it acts as an augury of privacy killer, hampering productivity.
Also, working together, and seeing the progress of people around can increase competition among co-workers in a dire way. Additionally, working with no barriers around can become a carrier of diseases, infecting from one person to another, increasing sick leaves (almost 60-62 percent more than private office workers, on an average), directly leading to a decrease in productivity.
Strike the Right Chord of Balance
Although the down-side of an open office culture can hamper productivity; the numbers state that cubicle and cabin workers are ironically the most depressed and stressed ones.
Unless you are a corporate mammoth like Google or Facebook, who knows how to create and competently handle a healthy open office style of working; you need to do your homework before adapting the same. Certainly, if these giants can adapt to an open office culture; and tailor make it according to their working patterns, and requirements; small organizations and businesses can definitely take an example.
Consider the pros and cons of this approach of working; decide what suits your work, your product, and your business the best, and opt for the same. You can also choose a semi open office culture where there is transparency partly and privacy partly; with cubicles are dedicated for discussing sensitive issues, or for obligatory, and crucial purposes.
In the end, not everyone is a Zuckerberg, who creates his own mark.