Combining the Open Office With Private Workstations: A Perfect Balance

Small business owners trying to figure out the best way to design the new office they’ll be moving into might look online to read expert opinions on open offices versus cubicles. They’re likely to come away feeling totally confused and frustrated. Debate rages on with dramatic headlines proclaiming the destruction of collaboration, or, in contrast, the perils of isolating employees. The option of buying used cubicles and modular workstations from a supplier like talimar systems offers a compromise that may be quite suitable.

Open Spaces vs. Seclusion

Perhaps the key is balance. Before cubicle systems became popular in office settings, employees commonly sat at desks in an open area without any barriers. However, desks typically were placed far enough apart that each person had his or her own space. As cubicles were increasingly brought into the office setting, employees found themselves working in more secluded areas that could make them feel cut off from camaraderie that was more common before.

Minimalist Environments

Hoping to rebuild that sense of teamwork and collaboration, businesses began eliminating cubicles altogether and choosing minimalist environments. They might use conference tables with laptop computers or networked devices with large monitors, for example. The individual employee workspace shrunk significantly as workers now sat only a few feet away from their colleagues.

Boosting Productivity and Satisfaction

Research has found that employees are more productive and satisfied when they have some sense of their own space in the office. That doesn’t have to be a tall cubicle wall, but it could be a relatively short barrier. The workers can still see one another and easily converse, but their individual space is defined. They feel less distracted, since psychologically, those short barriers serve as a continuous reminder that they actually are at work. They’re not hanging out together in a cafe.

This type of office design may lead managers to consider reversing other trends that have become common over recent years, such as allowing office workers to dress extremely casually. Although people generally don’t like hearing this, research shows that dressing in a more business-like manner leads to better productivity at the office. Executives require business casual attire for their office workers and provide modular workstations intended to boost productivity.