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The Effectiveness of an Open Office Layout

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1330
  • Category: space

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A poor arrangement of office space wastes time and energy by failing to provide the means for effective work habits. When conditions are such that there is no place to put needed documents or publications, the telephone is on the wrong desk or on the wrong side of the desk, lighting is inadequate, personnel are seated beneath a ceiling vent or facing a window or wall, the flow of work is uneven. Again, when personnel who do detailed or repetitious work are located so that they are constantly interrupted by traffic flow, then the result will obviously be less productive. An office could be defined as a work area for handling information or a production area with data processing equipment. Office planning could then be defined as determining the arrangement of all physical components into a coordinated unit that can most effectively handle the volume of work and the type of information necessary to carry out a mission.

Office layout has advanced throughout the years, led by any semblance of Google, which has all in all done away with the accepted shut off cubicle style in favour of open, innovative spaces. The open-style layout is usually intended to make a more intelligent and social environment where qualified data and could be imparted rapidly. New research, nonetheless, has discovered some open office layouts might accelerate subversive practices, as representatives look to stake their region in different ways. Stephen Cummings, educator of key administration and head of Victoria Management School at Victoria University, plus copartner teacher Torkild Thanem and Sara Värlander (both from Stockholm University) researched the impact on open office plans on representative conduct.

Cummings said that in light of the fact that open office plans make their tenants noticeable to partners and chiefs, numerous individuals feel ‘watched’, less loose and nervous. He included that the purpose of taking endlessly separating dividers and entryways is ordinarily to enhance inventiveness and execution by cultivating spontaneous fun, cooperation and imparting. Notwithstanding, Cummings discovered proof that it can prompt endeavors by workers to re-make spatial and social structures and limits, truly undermining the behaviors an organization is attempting to hearten.

One of the organizations examined had as of late altered its office plan from little distinct work places to an open office layout. While questions with staff recommended the feeling of fitting in with a group was reinforced by seeing one another each day, numerous started unabashedly following the landing and takeoff times and breaks of their associates. Cummings said a fascinating stream on impact of the new layout was a decreased number of debilitated days. Be that as it may Cummings said this could partially be because of more excellent worker fulfillment, he included that it could additionally be on the grounds that workers were more mindful of being ‘under surveillance’ by their associates.

The study likewise discovered that in spite of the fact that spontaneous collaboration was made simpler by the open configuration, uproarious talks were bothering to others. A few workers said the absence of security headed them to receive a more inflexible character at work, feeling the outline left less space for their private selves and development. An additional organization that the scientists dissected pushed itself as a ‘fun place to work, with a fabulous group atmosphere’. Rooms were expansive and open, and ‘hot-desking’ (moving between distinctive workspaces) was heartened. There were additionally various themed movement spaces for representatives to socialise in.

Cumming included that despite the fact that hot-desking was pushed in standard, generally groups stamped out their domain with notices, trademarks and individual things, indeed, moving furniture to make their own particular personalised space, which appeared to put different groups off moving into that space. Workers additionally had a tendency to utilize the movement rooms as a part of their created group assemblies at divide times as opposed to blending with different groups.

Cummings said the impact was to encourage a focused and execution turned group society, however a few workers guaranteed this methodology made the organisation more divided than different organisations they’d worked for. It’s clear that businesses need to think precisely before modifying the layout of an office—essentially bringing down dividers and advising workers to ‘relax and have fun’ is not the same as cultivating innovativeness. A blended layout of open and private spaces that empowers individuals to figure out the environment that suits them and their specific purposes will probably be more effective.

Does an open office design really benefit creativity?
By Design Daily Team, September 19, 2011 @ 10:43 am

Office design has evolved over the years, spearheaded by the likes of Google, which has largely done away with the conventional closed-off cubicle style in favour of open, creative spaces. Locally, Telecom’s $280 million Auckland headquaters, which opened last year, are a good example. The open-style layout is generally designed to create a more interactive and social environment where information and can be shared quickly. New research, however, has found some open office layouts may lead to subversive practices, as employees seek to stake their territory in various ways.

Google office, Milan

Stephen Cummings, professor of strategic management and head of Victoria Management School at Victoria University, along with associate professor Torkild Thanem and Sara Värlander (both from Stockholm University) investigated the effect on open office designs on employee behaviour. Cummings said that because open office designs make their inhabitants visible to colleagues and managers, many people feel ‘watched’, less relaxed and on edge. “The intent of taking away dividing walls and doors is usually to improve creativity and performance by fostering spontaneous fun, interaction and sharing,” said Cummings. “However, we found evidence that it can lead to attempts by employees to re-create spatial and social structures and boundaries, actually undermining the behaviours an organisation is trying to encourage.” One of the companies studied had recently changed its office design from small individual offices to an open office layout.

While interviews with staff suggested the feeling of belonging to a team was strengthened by seeing each other every day, many began openly monitoring the arrival and departure times and breaks of their colleagues. Cummings said an interesting flow-on effect of the new layout was a reduced number of sick days. But Cummings said this could in part be due to greater employee satisfaction, he added that it could also be because “employees were more aware of being ‘under surveillance’ by their peers”. The study also found that although spontaneous interaction was made easier by the open design, loud discussions were disturbing to others. Some employees mentioned the lack of privacy led them to adopt a more rigid identity at work, feeling the design left less room for their private selves and innovation.

Another company that the researchers analyzed promoted itself as a ‘fun place to work, with a fantastic team atmosphere’. Rooms were large and open, and ‘hot-desking’ (moving between different workspaces) was encouraged. There were also a number of themed activity rooms for employees to socialize in. “Although hot-desking was promoted in principle, most teams marked out their territory with posters, slogans and personal items, even moving furniture to create their own personalized space, which seemed to put other teams off moving into that space,” said Cummings.

“Employees also tended to use the activity rooms in their established team groups at separate times rather than mingling with other teams.” Cummings said the effect was to foster a competitive and performance-oriented team culture, but some employees claimed this approach made the organization more fragmented than other organizations they’d worked for. “It’s clear that employers need to think carefully before changing the layout of an office—simply taking down walls and telling employees to ‘relax and have fun’ is not the same as fostering creativity. A mixed layout of open and private spaces that enables people to determine the environment that suits them and their particular purposes will likely be more effective.”

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