Office Space 2019 revisited

I was going to write a blog on the new office space my group is moving into, and my thoughts on it, and realized someone had already written about it: https://www.executiveforum.com/office-space-2019/. It’s interesting the universality of opinions on modern corporate Open Office design. In our case the move was a bit more stark, as we were exiting a start-up environment of comradery over free food, intensity of a shared mission, tight collaboration across organizations, and even a garden with bee hives(!) – which has been reengineered to an open office design, with piped-in ambient water sounds, as part of a far flung global organization.

“An open plan design will move the goalpost and give us low hanging fruit we can leverage 110%”

Granted, much has been written about open plan offices being better for collaborative work and that they may be better aligned with the habits of a younger work force. It’s certainly more space efficient – taking the traditional average space per worker ranging to 250 square feet, now with these high density designs, down to 100 sf or less.

My take-away? Clearly office design needs to map to business objectives the same way compensation programs, supply chain, financial strategy, and corp dev have to. Being within the vortex of this change makes it challenging to be completely objective, but being a participant provides the credibility of directly experiencing the pros and cons. I’m seeing the Open Plan approach should be applied primarily to realize more efficient collaboration for integrative work-teams, not in cases where the workgroup process requires quiet attention to detail, thoughtful strategic thinking, or significant private/sensitive communications, to name a few.