A lot of weight is placed on office environments. The effects can be extended to staff morale, productivity and teamwork. The issue is often which way to go. There are a few options that are the most common. Often new office plans will see separated offices removed, creating an open plan that brings a distinctive new feel to the office. So what are the pros and cons of bringing a new dimension to your working environment?
A study conducted on the Influence of Workplace Design and Practices concluded that after transitioning to a new open office space resulted in increased engagement between employees and an overall decrease in misconduct. Conclusions also saw better retention of employees.
It has been observed that often if a business includes its employees in the transition from old to new office space the move will be a refreshing experience and a catalyst for increased morale, as there is a sense in actively being included in major change in operations.
People often fear change and when altering the look and feel of a new office space it is possible that employees may feel slightly exposed. Cubicles or private offices mean easier engagement with non-work related activities – surfing the web, Facebook and watching videos, for example (although the change may still not prompt any changes for some people, but instead make them more vigilant).
The new office situation may even see your boss exposing himself/herself to the whole office as well. This may seem intimidating but at the same time instil respect for the authority figure.
From a managerial point of view, having the last say as to how the new office layout will look, it is a good idea to sit down and discuss with employees exactly what they want out of their work environment before making your decision.
Obviously often outsourced construction will be needed to make the transition to the new office environment, but where there is opportunity and logistics permit it, it may even be a good idea to make an event out of it. Get the employees over to the office for a day of rearranging and maybe provide a BBQ and drinks or something along those lines to give it a social feel.
It’s not always easy getting used to a new office. When you’ve changed to a new open plan office you will initially feel exposed and without privacy. It’s important to make use of the board room/conference room rather than allow colleagues to listen in on private conversations. It’s also important to be mindful of others in terms of noise levels.
Ultimately changing to a new office environment that is more open can bring staff together. Constantly seeing the faces of those you work with will make you feel less isolated, which should bring about a positive change.
Dave Peterson has for years traveled around the world, scouting for areas to settle company offices. He's found Melborne office space for large firms and could no doubt source a great shared office in New York for an SME if he was asked to.