Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Overcoming the challenges of an open office layout

Open office layouts are the contemporary place to conduct business. Many employers understand the need to change with the times and harness different productivity techniques. However, open-concept design has the potential to bring on some challenges.

Benefits of open offices

These offices do away with traditional cubicle workstations. They often encourage organic collaboration and idea generation.

Additionally, open floor plans work to bring a company together as a whole. One of the challenges in many offices is the lack of communication across departments. When various sectors don't converse, it's easy to feel like separate entities. Bridging the gap between the sales force and the creative department is a primary goal for many companies.

Lastly, transparency in middle- to upper-management teams is important for encouraging lower-level employees to ask questions, seek advice or voice concerns to leadership when need be.

Potential challenges

Space - When offices move to open layouts, they take down cubicles and often add rows of desks. It's important to purchase large enough office workstations so each employee still has his or her own space in which to complete tasks.

Noise - Volume levels can be an issue. If someone is making a call, it can be a disturbance to other employees. If you are in a small office, it may be hard to disperse the noise. However, carpeting and sound panels can do a lot to combat ambient office noise.

Clutter - Just like employees work at different speeds, they operate under different cleanliness levels. It's important that workers who are prone to clutter be encouraged to not let their documents spill onto other workstations. To convey a widespread message, send a memo about each how necessary it is that each individual clean his or her mugs and food containers on a daily basis.

Open offices aren't for every business

These types of workstations are best for creative workforces for which constant collaboration is necessary. Accounting firms, call centers and investment companies might not benefit from such a transparent environment.

Business furniture

Instead of traditional desks, open spaces are often filled with multi-purpose tables. These surfaces are outfitted with slots for computer cords and wires. If you purchase a large enough table, employees will still have their own space while being able to collaborate. Additionally, if the remodeling budget is tight, second hand business furniture is available at the same quality as new units.

Want to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment? Visit the Office Furniture Warehouse website to complete your office landscape.

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