Open office concept: shine the light

Here we are rounding the corner to 2020 where the future of work predictions would change the way we do business. Technology has evolved but the office environment remains to struggle with phasing out the typical office with walls and cubicles.

There are numerous studies and reports that claim that the open office environment doesn’t work. What these claims do not dive into is the fact that the failed designs may not have been about the concept but lack of information to help leaders champion the new way to work. I worked in both environments and prefer to be in an open office because it breaks down the walls and puts everyone on the floor to work together. With any change, leaders need to stand behind the concept and bring fresh ideas rather than be chained up in the old way of thinking when leaders were in offices with closed doors–employees wanted the change to have the ability to access their leader without separation between their workspace and a door. Now the walls are coming down, letting the light shine in across the floors of office space–keep the flame focussed on fine-tuning the design to create a workspace where employees want to be.

Furthermore, there will always be complaints and if they do not offer a solution then the situation may not be about the open office but rather the employee behaviors being resistant to change. As we progress into new concepts and the way of working, employees need to take hold of ideas not only in business operations but in how they get their work done. And leaders need to challenge themselves to think outside the box and their office door to model a new behavior to develop collaboration with their teams.

Breaking down the walls in the open environment not only brings a fresh sense of working next to one another but diminishes the typical hierarchy that sometimes stands in the way of employees approaching leaders who are behind closed doors. Pause and take a moment to revamp the culture, promote a new way to work, offer ideas that will solve for distractions, and learn about how to do things differently where everything is transparent in an open environment–be the one to champion the concept to keep the flame burning not the one to blow it out!

“We used to think about how to make spaces efficient, then it became about how to make them more effective. Now it’s: How do you create spaces where people want to be?” ~ Janet Pogue McLaurin, workplace leader of Gensler, a New York City-based architecture and design firm [Source: SHRM | Fine-Tuning the Open Office ]

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