If you walk into a tech startup, nine times out of ten you’ll find open seating or bull-pen style seating. Whereas traditional work environments are divided up into departments with individual offices and cubicles, open office floor plans put all employees in the same room. Studies have shown that cubicles don’t increase productivity. As a matter of fact, people are more productive when they are sitting close together, but can see each other.
Pros of openness
Some of the advantages of an open office floor plan are obvious. These kinds of offices are economical because you can fit more people and more desks in less space, and because it is more efficient to heat, cool, and light one large room than several small rooms.
Open office plans also facilitate communication between managers and their employees, and between departments. Rather than taking the stairs or hiking down the hall to collaborate with another person, you can simply holler across the room.
Cons of openness
Unfortunately, all of that hollering can sometimes be pretty distracting. A University of Sydney study found that half of the workers in open offices say that the most frustrating part of their workplace is the “lack of sound privacy.”
Open offices are not only noisy but are also less secure since everyone can overhear one another. Employees may get peeved if they can’t concentrate because of all the noise around them, or can’t make a phone call without being overheard.
Dr. Who inspired solution
A startup called Framery Acoustics offers a solution.
They create soundproof phone booths and meeting pods designed to complement open office floor plans.
One of the founders, who previously worked in an open office, complained that his boss talked too loudly on his cellphone. His boss replied, “Well, get me a phone booth.”
Thus, Framery Acoustics was born.
Framery Acoustics is just one company that offers a product suited to appease open office dissenters. Framery Acoustics isn’t ready to give up on openness and neither should you.
So, when it comes time to return to your office (if you haven’t already), look for ways to make your office more flexible. Whether it is by providing a quiet capsule for private meetings and phone calls or just having a designated section for meetings, the solution is out there.
Compromising allows you to reap the benefits of an open office plan, while still ensuring that you and your officemates have privacy and quiet when it is needed.