Office partitions exist to create the privacy so often unavailable in an open plan office space.
Since the decline of the cubicle, more and more businesses have followed in the footsteps of Frank Lloyd Wright and Google to embrace the open office concept. Designed to foster communication and creative interchange, employer-to-employee connections, health and happiness as well as building cost reduction, criticism of open spaces almost always begins with privacy and noise issues. Some studies have gone so far as to conclude that reductions in personal space can result in a negative impact on productivity and even drastic declines in face-to-face communication.
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What do you do when faced with two separate choices, each with their own benefits and drawbacks? The answer is simple. In fact, it’s always been the same – take the best of both worlds to create a better one.
In this article, we’ll spotlight options for office partitions and add a few helpful tips to give your open-plan office designs a sense of balance, combining the inclusive freedom we love in an open floor plan with the privacy of a more traditional workspace.
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Plan the space strategically. If you were designing a residence, you wouldn’t put a bathtub in the kitchen. Designated areas for open-air conferences and brainstorming should be placed near to those where chatter won’t interrupt anybody’s train of thought. Think break rooms and cafeterias; places where the flow of an office can truly benefit from your open floor plan. Furniture in these areas can be situated to contain noise levels. Make a hollow square of high-backed couches to help keep conversation centered and focused inward.
Another trend in the struggle for workplace harmony is the phonebooth inspired office pod. The right to make a choice has become an essential desire of the modern worker. No one wants to be trapped in a cubicle for eight hours every weekday - but out there in the hustle and bustle of an open workspace, employees are finding it increasingly difficult to complete or even begin to undertake tasks that call for peace and quiet.
Well-placed pods offer the necessary feeling of seclusion as-needed without sacrificing valuable square-footage. You don’t want them all tucked away in the same dark corner looking like a time-out zone, so place them strategically as office dividers within activity areas to encourage use and enhance the sense of adaptability between open and private spaces.
Plants, Plants, Plants
No pun intended, friends, but it’s 2020. If you don’t have any plant life in your office designs, please add some straight away. We all love plants, and biophilic design trends are skyrocketing in popularity just as fast as those lovely Planet Earth time-lapses of flowers growing. In addition to purifying the air, reducing stress, increasing focus and positive mood levels, plants provide an excellent and aesthetically pleasing sense of personal space without making anyone feel enclosed or trapped. The calming privacy provided by a well-placed piece of flora will give a sense of the freedom that we find outside in nature.
Take these tips to help inspire healthy balance in your next open office design. There have always been pros and cons regarding the open office argument, but whoever said the grass can’t be just as green on both sides of the office partition?
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