Bring the pink noise and hold the egg mayo
Modern technology offers numerous ways to resolve those time-honoured complaints about open-plan working environments:
- Uncomfortable silences can be eliminated by playing pink noise through speakers.
- Zone-controlled soft lighting reduces the headaches and reflections caused by unforgiving strip lights.
- USB-powered LED bulbs can be illuminated when you’re on the phone or deep in thought, to indicate you don’t want any interruptions.
It’s true that sound-cancelling headphones allow workers to go placidly amid the noise and the haste. However, it’s far better to resolve potential sound issues pre-emptively. Build in acoustic panels, strategically position furniture to give people a degree of privacy, and install soft fabrics to prevent large spaces becoming noisy echo chambers. Clever layouts will allow your company to add more staff in future, which is vital for startups and tech firms.
A well-designed open-plan office brings all sorts of hidden benefits. Hot desking allows staff to work alongside each other most of the time, relocating to a bookable office for meetings or confidential projects while enjoying a change of scenery. Preventing people from eating at their desks banishes the sight and smell of someone dropping egg mayonnaise down their chin to the cafeteria or breakout zone. A liquids-only desk policy can even boost afternoon productivity, by preventing employees from working straight through lunch and being exhausted by 3pm.
There’s a price on your head
Open-plan workspaces are far superior to those dingy 20th century cubicles, with their head-height baffle boards and latent claustrophobia. Open-plan rooms also create the impression of a dynamic company, looking great in marketing literature or as visitors arrive. Facebook’s iconic HQ would be far less photogenic (and photographed) without endless rows of silver Mac screens sweeping across every desk.
Perhaps most importantly, open-plan offices are cheaper. They’re much more cost-effective than a building with dozens of separate rooms and interconnecting corridors, assuming such a place still exists in your CBD. The cost savings achieved on monthly rents can be redirected into salaries, new technology or growing the business.
Ask the experts
If you want to see the benefits of open-plan thinking in action, follow ZACK Group on LinkedIn. We’ve got loads of bright minds working together on digital and IT recruitment, sharing our collective expertise in an airy office environment.