According to the Gensler Research Institute, open office spaces boost collaboration, creativity and productivity. With technology at the forefront of communication, companies prioritize the need for more human interaction for better business practices. But is the open design all that it’s cracked up to be?
It creates more opportunities for brainstorming and communication. It promotes teamwork. Productivity, on the other hand? Not so much. More like chaos, distraction and disruption.
While still a better alternative to cubicles and enclosed spaces, the undivided floor plan still breeds a number of issues.
So how does one improve the open office? Simple. Add some walls on wheels and movable pods into the workplace.
Many companies have invested in pods as big as conference rooms and as small as personal phone booths. They serve as isolation chambers to block out all the outside noise for increased productivity. However, these stationary pods still disrupt the flow of the open floor plan. This is where mobile walls and pods come in.
In the Ikea design lab located in Amhult, Sweden, everything is mobile. From the modular pods, furniture, even whiteboards and pin boards, the office still maintains the spacious design, yet still contains design elements that give the option of privacy and mobility. And the ability to move and close oneself off from distractions are what’s fundamentally missing in most open office layouts.
Now the question lies in the feasibility of incorporating mobility into the workplace. Can the company provide work phones, laptops, portable chargers and other items that allow for the freedom to work anywhere in the office?
There’s a lot to consider. But what’s certain is that the simplistic open office plan is not as beneficial as what design experts claim them to be.