While many architects use open space designs when developing the plans for office building, this trend may be actually hurting the productivity of those who work in those spaces.
While Google and other tech industry giants sing the praise of open space offices, many people who work in these environments do not find them conducive to stay focused on their work. Since focus and concentration are essentially to productivity and efficiency in the workplace, the trend toward open collaborative spaces may hurt the bottom lines of businesses that occupy this type of office space. Compounding the issues with open office design is the fact that surveys have found that a lack of privacy in the workplace leads to poor levels of employee engagement. When a business’s workforce is disengaged, the results are high levels of turnover, inability to retain talent, and losses in productivity according to a report published by Harvard Business Review.
Five Office Design Strategies
If you think about your own firm, people have different needs depending upon their role. Design teams by their very nature need collaborative space while your finance person needs quiet and private space. Ted Dhanik of the branding firm engage:BDR suggests five strategies for architects to consider when designing office spaces to improve employee engagement and productivity.
- Create working spaces based on department functions and the privacy needs of employees
- Use of glass walls provides a sense of connected among colleagues while also providing privacy
- Keep windows within the line of sight of all offices by having a hallway run along the window space
- Encourage teamwork and free sharing of idea with multiple collaborative spaces
- Include multifunctional elements such as chalkboard or whiteboard walls
While ergonomic design used to be based on the premise that physical well-being enhances an individual’s productivity, the concept now extends to emotional and cognitive wellness.
What are your strategies for designing office spaces?