Hiring and retaining the best and brightest people for your team is an obvious key to running a successful company. But enabling them to operate at their highest level is also vital to running an efficient enterprise. Training them up in important software and providing them with ample hardware to get the job done is one way to accomplish this. But another, potentially forgotten, way to get the most out of your workers is through proper office setup.
Deciding between an open office and a set of office cubicles can make quite a difference in not only the way your office looks, but also the way your team operates. Here’s some background on how office design can have a major impact on your company.
Open office vs. office cubicles: The office design debate
The type of organisation you operate could determine whether an open office design or a series of cubicles is more appropriate for you. However, if you’re still having trouble after considering that, here are some general pros and cons of each type of office layout.
Cubicles can be a very efficient way to divvy up space in your working environment. Office cubicles provide a clear, defined space for each worker to operate. This is important for a variety of reasons. It gives each worker a place to keep their important documents and stay organised. An office cubicle also gives workers a “home away from home” at work that they can personalise and in which they can feel comfortable.
Of course, such personal space can come at a price. Cubicles create physical barriers between team members that can do harm. Despite not being insurmountable, office cubicles can dent the amount of interaction between team members. This can lead to less collaboration on projects and less socialising between colleagues, thereby affecting team building. Cubicles also don’t leave as much room for customisation of the office space. When you set up rows of cubicles, they aren’t very easy to move.
Having an open office makes the working space flow more freely in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most important aspect of an open office is that it can foster more communication and cooperation between workers, which can greatly enhance office culture. The lack of physical barriers makes it easier to approach others and converse without feeling like you have to enter somebody’s private domain. Physically, people can move easier throughout the working space, and an open office setup is also easier to modify if needed.
But some of these open office gifts can also be curses. A lack of personal, slightly private space can make it harder to get work done. Others moving around having conversations in unblocked sightlines can lead to distraction that crushes efficiency. Similarly, open office setups can be intimidating and uncomfortable for more private workers.
Ways to optimise office space
Whether you decide your organisation is better suited with office cubicles or an open seating plan, here are three simple things you can do to help your workers function efficiently during the workday.
- Get with groups
Coordinating the office by department is a great way to get them working together on projects and keep clear lines of communication open. This is especially true in a more open office plan. Try to have workers situated in circles or pods. This shape helps foster interaction between team members that can stoke creative fires.
- Make it personal
As discussed earlier, allowing workers to make their working space their own by way of decoration or other personalisation gives them a sense of ownership over said space. Think about it. Working in a barren office environment free of any personal effects would be quite deflating. But, being able to jazz up a working space with photos, plants and other decorations that help display a bit of personality can make people more comfortable while at work.
- Add interesting touches
Regardless of which office design principles you decide to follow, adding plants and art to the walls of your office can enhance moods, and therefore production, of your workers. Studies have shown that the bright colours and air-cleansing properties of plants improve mental and physical health, and that art can help on those fronts, too.
Office layout can have a major impact on your team’s productivity. Let the type of company you’re running and the vibe you want to create guide your hand when deciding on what type of office furniture to go with. Interested in more great tips? Check out the Saxons blog today.