The open office concept was first launched in Germany in the 1950s, but it has only become popular in the United States as of recently. And guess what? We are fans. Though the concept receives criticism at times, nearly 70 percent of American workers are employed in such an environment. Business owners and building managers like the cost savings, and employers appreciate the ability to watch over employees. Working in an open office also facilitates teamwork and collaboration.
There are many reasons why we at SEMGeeks love the collaborative, laidback environment that an open office layout provides. Speaking from experience, here are a few of the reasons why we’re advocates of this design and will continue to be.
Strong Sense of Community
Rows of individual cubicles separate people. While it’s nice to have the privacy at times, it doesn’t do anything to facilitate teamwork, joint efforts and a sense of community. When you take down the walls, everyone begins to feel like part of the same team.
Here at SEMGeeks, we all have our individual roles, whether it’s designing a website for a client, creating content or managing SEO goals. Being in an open environment reminds us that while our jobs may be different, our objectives are the same.
Clear, Concise Communication
Some of us have worked in other environments where we literally had to call someone on the phone a few rows over just to talk to them. With an open layout, all you have to do is give a quick shout. This significantly improves communication because it’s easy. And, you don’t have to worry about interrupting anyone.
Not having confining walls also keeps the communication flowing in other ways. If we’re on the phone with a client, we can answer their question immediately rather than putting them on hold. Our clients appreciate this because they feel that we’re all on the same page.
Improved Efficiency and Less Downtime
With our ability to communicate and work together, the efficiency that happens within our four walls is outstanding. We know our roles and who’s working on what, and this greatly cuts down on two people doing the same job. Our office is set up with areas for brainstorming and collaborating, and these easygoing environments allow us to come up with many creative designs. Even when we’re taking our lunch breaks or microbreaks, we often find ourselves talking about our next projects!
Finding a Healthy Balance
We agree that not every line of work will benefit from the open office layout, but many can. What many people don’t realize is that offices can enjoy the best of both worlds – it’s not all or nothing.
Your office can incorporate the traditional cubicles for times when employees need to work in distraction-free environments. But you can also include mellow, relaxed areas that are ideal for discussions, brainstorming and other synergistic work. You might be amazed at the results that will come!