Product Trend... How to Achieve Balance in an Open Office Design
In stark contrast to the high-walled cubicles and closed, private offices of the past, the open office environment became popularized over the last decade. It serves as a strategic move to optimize office real estate and increase collaboration and innovation. By bringing teams closer together, creating more coworking space and diverse workstyle settings, the concept lends to a more efficient floor plan. With the changing expectations of young professionals, an open layout helps companies maintain a competitive advantage to attract and retain a wide range of employee demographics.
However critics of this planning concept find it difficult to stay focused—citing a lack of visual and auditory privacy, resulting in heightened distractions and uninvited interruptions. With the potential for a decrease in productivity, it’s paramount for executives and their designers to consider ways to create balance in an open office.
Create zones and neighborhoods that have their own personality and purpose. Break up the space using accent paint, branding, glass partitions and furniture that give people a sense of place.
Glass partitions are a great way to create zones, while keeping things transparent, but the material must be used wisely. Be mindful not to create a fishbowl effect, where users feel watched or distracted by neighboring teams. Adding transparent Colored Glass or Graphic Imaging is a simple way of creating a sense of visual privacy in these highly transparent spaces.
For quiet tasks or private meetings consider the use of Switchable Privacy Glass in those areas. Switchable Privacy Glass allows the glass to go from opaque privacy, to non-privacy glass at the flick of a switch. This product has quickly gained popularity in commercial environments, including corporate and healthcare settings due to its ability to allow light transmission, while quickly providing privacy when needed.
As technology and innovation drives people to be more mobile, it’s becoming easier than ever for teams to get away from their desks to collaborate and spur creativity. By considering these design concepts that introduce balance to an open office environment, employees can be both inspired by an open and visually stimulating, collaborative workplace, while maintaining their productivity and sanity.