Open plan offices are becoming increasingly common in modern workplaces. Instead of workers beavering away in small cubicles, as was common in the 60s and 70s, many companies now favor open plan light, bright working areas where colleagues can collaborate on projects and the space remains fluid and versatile. Visitors can hot desk and furniture can be moved around to accommodate different needs. So what are the do’s and don’ts if you are in charge of coming up with some ideas for a company’s new office space?
Do Add Plants
Plants, flowers and trees are a great way of adding interest to an open plan office space. They also help to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, unless someone is willing to spend a lot of time watering and tending to the greenery, you are better off checking out Artificial Plants and Trees and installing a few judiciously placed artificial plants. These require very little maintenance other than some dusting and look just as attractive.
Do Add Window Blinds
Window blinds serve two purposes: firstly, they provide privacy for offices located on the ground floor, and secondly they help to keep sunlight out on hot days. You can take your pick of window treatments for offices, but vertical blinds are always popular. These can be tilted in different directions, depending on where the sun is coming from. They can also be color coordinated to suit the overall décor.
Do Consult Staff
It is a good idea to consult your staff before converting traditional offices into an open plan workspace. People tend to have their own ideas about what works – and what doesn’t – so rather than upset your staff, canvas their opinions and try to include some of their ideas into the overall design scheme. You never know, someone might think of a hack you hadn’t thought of.
Don’t Neglect the Air Conditioning
A good air conditioning system is essential in large open plan workspaces. If the atmosphere is too hot or too cold, nobody will be productive, least of all you. Put time and effort into finding the right system and make sure it can be easily adjusted to suit the prevailing weather conditions.
Don’t Limit Natural Light
Natural light is important. People don’t work as well in artificial light – it is depressing. Design the space so that there are plenty of windows, but make sure you can control the amount of light coming in where necessary. Glass coatings are useful, but blinds can work just as well.
Don’t Forget Noise Control
Open plan offices can be very noisy. Carpets, rugs, and other soft furnishings will help to reduce the ambient noise levels. You may also wish to include at least one or two separate meeting rooms where discussions that are more private can take place.
Open plan workspaces are a great feature and employees tend to enjoy the social aspects of working in close proximity to their colleagues, but they do need to be carefully designed or productivity levels will fall.