The trend towards open plan offices

The trend towards open plan officesThe classic open plan office of the 1990s, with its separate cubicles for call centre agents, is long since passé and is a far cry from the contemporary concept for the open plan office. For a long time now, employees have contributed to creative and unconventional concepts for these offices, aiming to convey the values of openness, transparency, team spirit and innovation. What does working in an open plan office look like and what are the advantages for employees?

Advantages: Openness and transparency

A big advantage of open plan offices is the openness of the space. Not only does it symbolise limitless creativity, it also makes communication channels shorter, improves interaction between colleagues and supports team spirit and communication. The first priority here is to eradicate hierarchy, speed up project decisions and exchange knowledge

Creative use of space

Employee involvement is vital in the planning of an open plan office because individual workplaces will each have their own requirements. Some colleagues are on the phone a lot with their clients while others need a quiet environment so that they can write documents. Increasing mobility in the workplace means that a rethink is required in terms of conceptualising office spaces. In some circumstances, some areas are only partly used because many colleagues work away from the building, have external appointments or work from home some days.  Thus many places no longer have individually allocated workstations. A modern office concept will therefore have a variety of areas designed for different functions. Areas for quiet and places to retreat to are an absolute must so that silent, concentrated work can take place. Open areas for meetings are equally important, as are special rooms for telephone calls.

Rules for working together

Working together can be successful if a few ground rules are observed: First and foremost, be discrete. Decrease the volume of your telephone and of your voice when you speak. People tend to speak louder when they are on the phone. Turn your private mobile phone to silent if possible. Only answer your own mobile phone if it is urgent. Sensitive topics are best discussed in a separate room in a one-on-one context. It is important to carefully plan routines so as to avoid both constantly coming and going and interrupting colleagues while they are working. But there is still room for spontaneity!  Studies show that people who work in open plan offices talk more about current work-related topics and team spirit is promoted in the long term.

Our tip: It is therefore important to consider in advance which type of office space is the right choice for the team. Both communication and concentration must be made possible. By carefully planning specialised spaces, noise, sensory overload and lack of privacy can all be cleverly avoided whilst proactively promoting team spirit and effective exchange. Are you looking for a new office for your team? Engel & Völkers Commercial is the right contact for helping you to choose the appropriate property.