Business owners and managers are always on the lookout for strategies to increase productivity in the workplace, cut costs and improve employee morale. Studies have shown that approximately 70% of all office spaces in developed countries are based on the open-plan system.

Why go open-plan?

The main advantage of open-plan is the increased utilisation of space, hence reduction in building and/or tenancy costs. It provides a less constricting alternative to simply increasing the number of workers in a given space.

Advocates of open-plans also add that the system provides for more collaborative connections through face-to-face communications, encourages creativity and increases employee satisfaction. Employees in manufacturing can work up to 4.4 times faster in open-plan spaces, according to research.

Given this information, it’s no wonder that the open-plan office design system has been so widely applied. However, recent studies have shown that open-plans actually decrease employee productivity, mostly owing to increased difficulty in focusing, according to a workplace survey in the US by Genlser.

Collaboration for effectiveness

While the system fosters collaboration, it does so at the expense of workplace effectiveness, because the element of focus is scarified in the equation. So, how does this affect your own office design plan?

In environments where you want employees to learn from one another, or they need to be in constant communication, open-plan systems are ideal. Where employees don’t need each other to learn or do their jobs effectively, the open-plan system gets in the way. The nature of work itself is critical to the interpretation of the matter.

As regards increased productivity, open-plan systems are only helpful within the right context. In the wrong environment, all it achieves is an environment of increased snooping, talking, relating and gossiping, all at the expense of actual work productivity.

For more information, contact Blue Line Design.