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How to Make an Open Office Work for Everyone

Author: LEO Admin/January 15, 2019

The open plan office has recently come under fire for high levels of noise and prioritisation of real estate over employee comfort. Whilst some employers have chosen to go down that route, many others have seen the improvements that open-plan office design has had on their team. If you have an open plan office or are considering moving to an open floor plan office design, then let LEO give you some helpful tips on making it work for everyone. Once you’re ready for the big move, explore LEO’s range of luxury serviced offices.

Create Separate Spaces

There’s some confusion around open plan offices, many imagine a large room filled to the brim with desks. A layout like that is most certainly not conducive to productivity. Instead, a well-planned open floor office will have at least a few separate areas marked for different purposes. Carve out areas that are a little further from the hustle and bustle for employees that need to have a quick chat or work collaboratively on a group project. This way everyone can get on with their tasks without distracting each other.

Noise is probably the biggest bugbear for employees working in an open plan office so be considerate when deciding on the layout; sales people, who are likely to be on the phone quite often, probably need to be sat a little further away from employees that need high levels of concentration.

Offer Privacy

Privacy is paramount for an office of any style. Important client meetings and personal conversations cannot take place in the middle of a buzzing room. Every successful open-plan office will have a selection of bookable rooms on offer for those all-important client meetings, presentations, or even solo work. Employees should be made aware and encouraged to make use of the empty meeting rooms when needed and around any deadlines as there’s no use pretending that the open plan office is always suitable for time-sensitive tasks.

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Informal Guidelines

Not everyone wants to be chatting and working at the same time and therefore it’s useful to create some basic guidelines. They don’t have to be overly formal, but a quick email can do the trick. Mention things like keeping music to an acceptable level and trying to not disturb any co-workers wearing headphones – the universal sign that they would rather not chat right now.

Encourage Personalisation

The open plan office can sometimes feel a little impersonal to employees. Encourage personalisation by offering desk plants, which have been proven to boost productivity and desk accessories. It’s a one-off expense that can go a long way in making everyone feel like they’ve carved out a space for themselves in the office. Small personal touches also stimulate creativity and can even help employees to connect with each other by getting them talking more.

Realistically, no office set up will be perfect for everyone. Open plan offices are not the villains in this story, but bad planning is. Stress and noise don’t have to be an inevitable part of the office environment – they’re quite easily managed with a little forethought. Don’t be afraid to embrace the open plan office layout, just remember to be considerate to your employees and create the kind if space you think people would genuinely enjoy working in.

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