Today’s Office Space: Smaller, Open, Flexible – And Louder!

open office space plans louderThe average office space today is getting smaller and more open to allow more people to fit and from some perspectives to foster a sense of collaboration, productivity, and culture.  In the past office space per employee averaged 225 to 250 sf.  Nowadays it's averaging 150 to 175 sf per employee as long as the office building they lease from allows it. Open office space plans may enable you to be more flexible and decrease your monthly rent, however according to some open plans also are more noisy which can be distracting for employees.

What are some reasons why open offices are becoming popular?

  1. More and more workers are working remotely.  Thanks to cloud computing, online storage methods, and other software solutions workers are able to spend less time in the office.  In some cases companies are creating hot desks that are shared.  No one has an assigned desk, they just come into the office and sit wherever they please.
  2. In some studies younger employees say they want to work in an open office.  They don't like feeling alienated and want to be around people to talk to and collaborate.
  3. An open office environment, laid out properly allows more natural light to come in for everyone to enjoy.  The fewer the walls the more light that can come in.

Why are some companies opposed to open office space plans?

  1. Many employees think it's too noisy and distractive which can decrease productivity.
  2. There is no privacy

What can you do to minimize noise in an open office environment?

You can mitigate noise by creating small break out or meeting rooms where employees can schedule small meetings and have private phone calls.

Because of the speed of technology and software advancements “where” and “how” we work will continue to evolve.  If you are going to create an open office environment there are ways to mitigate the noise and still provide some private rooms for those that need it.  As long as you carefully plan your office space design and focus on employee job functions and productivity you will be ok.

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