Office Design has become one of the biggest concerns for big companies. Many of them are now redesigning their office to take into account the influence of space on productivity and to better fit the new working dynamics.
Say goodbye to the 1960s
The ‘Open Plan’ concept appeared in the 1960s to encourage collaborative work and the end of locked offices and cubicles. Nowadays, open spaces are present in most offices.
However, architects have already realised that when it comes to employees’ productivity, the key factor is not working as a team, but their individual concentration. And this one is especially affected by the spatial distribution of open offices. This kind of spaces encourages constant interruptions as well as visual distraction and concentration loss.
The results are longer but less productive working days, on which no worker wants to socialise, learn and be creative. That mood spreads like wildfire among the rest of the employees in the office. And the reason is that space hasn’t been adapted to the day-to-day activity of employees.
If our work culture has changed, shouldn’t the places where we work do the same?
The open office concept doesn’t suit the daily working methods that are nowadays used in most companies. New generations entering the labour market are constantly moving and designing their own working dynamics. In fact, 50% of job positions are empty as employees spend more time together or working from home.
Laptops, smartphones and tablets have brought mobility in and people no longer need to be at the office in order to work. When they are there, employees don’t have a single job place but move around the office depending on whether they need to disconnect or work with other partners.
The solution to this new way of working is to have hybrid offices with open spaces, but also with separate rooms to hold different activities (meetings, calls, lectures, brainstorming or resting). These spaces allow employees not to be disturbed by the noise of open offices whenever necessary.
The idea is for employees to improve their day to day in more humanised environments. In order to do that, the design is focused on creativity and collaborative work to help employees feel more comfortable and do their best. That way, the office responds to the necessities of flexibility and intimacy so required by employees.
Socialisation also has a very important role in these new spaces. Beyond coffee machines, designers look for spaces where employees can rest, feel comfortable and interact with others. Offices are becoming something more than a place where to just sit and do their work.
In short, offices should adapt to employees and their needs so they can improve their wellbeing and, therefore, their productivity.
Translation by Pablo Velázquez