A corner office? An office with windows? How about sitting in a cube? Office space today is quickly changing. Open office spaces quickly gaining popularity in many major companies, such as Deloitte, Herman Miller, and Steelcase. Many organizations are changing office layouts and the way their office space is utilized; efficiency is key. Advancements in technologies and increased real estate costs are the main drivers for this shift. Companies are creating unconventional ways of providing alternative office space settings, depending on the nature of the work while utilizing the same amount of space. Many companies are becoming more mobile, which is diminishing the need for each employee to have their own personal office. Steelcase is one of the organizations that is currently experiencing these new changes. Take a look at what they plan for the future: http://www.steelcase.asia/en/resources/360-ezine/Documents/360_Issue63.pdf
Collaboration…Brainstorming…Teamwork… Newer office designs provide greater opportunity to engage more fully in these types of workplace activities. Many companies start by taking down walls and removing cubicles to allow for more openness. By not having personal offices, workers interact with each other more often and shed their “behind closed doors” mentality. This open assignment approach allows for workers to network freely with each other; creating greater opportunities for new ideas to spring forth. However, there is some criticism that open office space is distracting and unproductive. Nevertheless, Herman Miller CEO, Brian Walker, believes sharing workspace beats owning a private office; http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/06/why_the_ceo_of_iconic_office_f.html. He believes new and interesting ideas ultimately lead to greater organizational productivity.
In addition to open workspaces, technological advances are also changing office environments and the ways in which communication takes place. According to Mark Gardner of Deloitte Consulting, equipping workspaces with projectors and screens allows the ease of video conferencing and virtual meetings. The open space is often large and can accommodate many people, thus opening the possibility for spontaneous meetings throughout the day.
Results show collaborative spaces are effective. Companies that have made changes in this direction have received positive feedback from employees, and they often realize the benefits with increased productivity. Funding that would have been used to create more traditional cubicles and offices, is now geared for technology, as well as equipment that facilitates greater spontaneity and innovative interaction. Today, it’s all about collaboration. Organizations need to keep pace with the changing times. Capitalize on the staff and the technology available, and shy away from the traditional office arrangements. Success lies in innovation and creativity, and creating space that fosters synergy is likely to help the organization become the leader of the future.
Look for our next blog, “Innovation – no longer a “nice to have” but now a “must have” for today’s leaders.
Written by: McKenzie Borland, Intern at Paragon Leadership International. Paragon Leadership International is a MI headquartered executive coaching and leadership development firm.