A number of spontaneous activities occur during the workday that require the need for private spaces within an open floor plan. People need to take calls ,unexpectedly talk to a colleagues, engage in a heated conversations or conversation that should be kept private.
Although in some cases these conversations can motivate collaboration, in other cases, these conversations will cause disruptions to others.
It may be inconvenient to have to travel a distance to a conference room for a short spontaneous need. Inconvenience encourages people to ignore etiquette and disrupt other workers. We recommend telephone rooms and/or very small conference rooms dispersed in and around the open work area so that these private areas are easy to get to and convenient. In contrast, we would not recommend that these private areas be concentrated in just one part of the office. Workers will be more likely to use the facilities to just take a short call or conduct a fast conversation if they are brainlessly in close proximity.
Open office plans give rise to a host of issues regarding noise, distractions, and privacy that needs to be addressed. Knoll has provided a whitepaper on establishing guidelines for appropriate open office behavior. See below:
ules for Etiquette in the Open Office | Workplace Research | Resources | Knoll.
An article from Gensler was published recently which discusses what we can learn from a coffee shop relative to the current design of office spaces. One observation the article mentions is to have people sit facing away from walls. When you go into a coffee shop alone and select a seat–you will typically take the seat with your back against the wall and facing out. Gensler concludes that this is the way most people prefer to work.
The article further talks about this method being implemented in one of their studies with fantastic results. The seating approach used has increased collaboration in the office. The way people sit at their desks and can be seen by others allows people to better notice when someone else is available talk or work with. With increased collaboration and respect among employees, this workplace becomes a more comfortable and enjoyable place to be.
The article also points out that different generations of people tend to exhibit the same tastes in regard to seating and working at a coffee shop. This too, can be great for a company that is wanting to transition to a open plan. Knowing that workers of different ages don’t greatly differ in their office style work space tastes will help make the decision to change the layout of the office an easy one.
There are seven points to this article to take into consideration in remodeling or designing creative office space. Companies may experiment with these ideas and possibly make an effort to modify the office plan in order to increase collaborations and creativity throughout the workforce.
We have not tried any of these ideas out. However, we have seen the importance of the kitchen and break area grow. In one 12,000 square foot suite, we built two kitchen and break areas. In another 10,000 square foot deal, the tenant refused to move in until the kitchen break area was totally finished because the tenant viewed it as a critical part of the space.