You’Re Probably Just Using Them Wrong

One response to the problems of open-plan spaces is simply to stop using them, as Ikea has done recently, structuring new spaces using its own taste for furniture design. A variety of approaches aimed at designing better open-plan spaces include the following ideas: use private offices surrounding a hub of a common area, purchase movable barriers so people can create private space as needed, create larger offices with two or three work areas, install cubicles with cathedral ceilings, skylights and tall windows, or introduce a work-from-home policy – while renting space for group meetings as required. Office space for permanent staff, plus flexible work units for guests;. We first defined different areas: an office space with desks, a social area containing kitchen and couches, enclosed meeting rooms for discussions, rooms to go and make calls, and silent corners for quiet reading. First, you really need to consider what sort of work is suitable for different kinds of office set-ups. Open-plan spaces can only work in the long run if all those working there stick to the rules and remind others of them. Third, consider the working atmosphere such an office creates: it tends to lead to an open environment in which behaviour is visible from the time an employee arrives at work – to who people are talking with and, often, what they are talking about.

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