Nowadays, it seems like every major tech company in the Bay Area wants to design an open-floor office. It is commonly known that these shared spaces promote a collaborative work culture, but every office design has its limitations.
CBRE, one of the largest real estate companies based out of Los Angeles, recently made the switch from cubicles to the open-floor plan, but knew it was equally important to have more private spaces for meetings. They added glass-encased rooms to the open floor plan to serve the dual purpose of having meetings and tailoring to those who prefer to have some privacy at work.
CBRE isn’t alone because Silicon Valley businesses like Facebook and Apple also intend to implement open floor plans; however, before construction of their new headquarters is complete in the next few years, they may want to consider the disadvantages of an open floor plan.
Fast Company surveyed 100 participants and compiled a list of the most common answers. Some answers may seem obvious, while others may be surprising. Perhaps, some businesses may want to replace their damaged cubicles and purchase larger, used cubicles instead.
Lack of communication
Talking with co-workers can be beneficial to completing work-related tasks, but when more time is spent discussing casual matters, it can turn out to be counter-productive; however, if you don’t participate in these talks, “you are usually marked as uncommunicative, too negative, antisocial, or something similar come review time,” one respondent said.
Another participant mentioned that eventually, people will wear their headphones to block out the noise of others, Before you know it, the office “become[s] long rows of people wearing headphones all day — the exact opposite of the vibrant, collaborative space the open-office layout was meant to promote.”
Privacy is almost obsolete
Because co-workers are within a few inches from one another, it can be difficult to set aside time to make personal phone calls. One respondent said that they “arrive to work at an absurdly early hour, like 5 a.m.” when their “office opens at 9 a.m.” just to find time to complete some work-related projects.
Because there are no walls to pin up photographs or documents, employees are limited to how they personalize their workstations.
Whether the conversation is directed to you or someone else, it is almost impossible not to hear the discussion. In some cases, hours spent listening to other people typing away can be also be a distraction, almost irritating for some.
“The worst thing is the noise. You can hear people typing, sneezing, coughing, eating, taking calls, cursing, and anything and everything in between. It’s hard to concentrate,” another Fast Company participant writes.
Aspiring businesses do not have to follow the path of other organizations that have opted to implement an open-floor plan. Before purchasing work furniture, determine if the workflow can handle these possible disadvantages.
Either way, commercial furniture can be a large administrative cost. Instead of purchasing these pieces brand new, a used business furniture retailer has a variety of used office cubicles and workstations to choose from. By choosing pre-owned furniture, companies save money on very high quality furniture and increase the company’s green contribution to the environment.