Having been operating within the industry for over 30 years, we've seen many things change when carrying out our office design in Southwark. Whether it's trends that continue to go on the 'up' or those that go on a complete opposite trajectory and are never seen again.

One of the relatively recent up trends of the last 20 years-or-so has been that of open plan design. With workstations shared by employees, open plan is seen as the best way for workers to communicate and collaborate on projects, building up rapport and friendships, which help the work (and their experience of it) in the long run. With shared desks and tech, open design is seen as cost-effective too – but does that, in turn, create an overcrowded room that will prove unproductive?

Open Plan – Its Effects on Office Design In Southwark.

The one constant that we've noticed within office design in Southwark recently is that more and more businesses are seeking workspaces that are flexible – often combining elements of open plan design with that of more private offices. This change can be put down to advancements in technology – no longer do we have to operate in the same room all of the time; thanks to things like Wi-Fi, we can connect to company networks anywhere it's available. This is handy if say, you need some peace and quiet in a private room to complete work or need to collaborate with others in a more comfortable, inclusive environment; such as a breakout room.

Ultimately, deciding on the makeup of your office design is vitally important in this modern age. Not only can the design help to foster creativity, teamwork and productivity but it can also help to retain talented employees who don't grow frustrated at the lack of facilities and look elsewhere to take their skills.

Keeping your own office design in Southwark (or in fact, anywhere!) in mind, we're going to look at the positive and negative aspects of an open office design to see if it can help you to decide if implementing one is right for your business...

The Positive Aspects of An Open Plan Design.

  • An Increase In Communication. You can create a better office culture by opening up your office and allowing employees to sit next to each other without any physical barriers between them. Not only will it help to create relationships but it will improve teamworking and creativity, allowing a flow of constant ideas to be produced. Shared workspaces aren't the only way in which you can encourage employees to communicate of course. Communicating can be improved by introducing elements such as hot desking (where workers don't sit in the same place every day) and additional chairs and sofas to create that 'contemporary feel' whilst encouraging people to take a break and chat.
  • An Important Equaliser. The issue with many office designs is that they still practice the 'hierarchical structure' that places a physical barrier between the senior members of staff, with others. Whilst for some businesses, due to the nature of their work, this is an absolute must – but for others, it's unnecessary and harms the affinity in the workplace. Many modern companies have a strict equality and fairness mantra as a key part of their ethos – and as such, they do not close off rooms for senior staff and instead include them in an open plan design that encourages interaction between them and employees. And this is the key point in office design – a workplace must abide by its ethos. No matter what it is, if your business doesn't practice what it preaches, so to speak, then how will your clients and customers have the trust to continue to use your services? With workplaces being more flexible than ever, many companies have taken to customising their interiors in a way that best sums up their service. Whether it's open plan design, private, hardworking rooms or a simple colour scheme – they leave no stone unturned in their quest for the perfect office environment.
  • Cost Effectiveness. You'll be likely to find open plan design implemented across the business spectrum – from small, start-ups to massive, multinational corporations. One aspect of why this is, is because it's cost-effective. Being a term that basically means 'paying the lowest cost for the best possible result', you can see why for a small business this provides an attraction; they don't have to spend too much to establish themselves. For those larger companies, they may be attracted by the collaborative impact that open office design in Southwark has (and let's face it, they didn't get to be so big by just throwing money around aimlessly!)

Open Plan Design – The Negatives.

  • No Privacy. There may be times – whether it's having important conversations on the phone or simply needing to concentrate on the work in hand, without any potential interruptions, that open office design has a negative impact on. Imagine if you're a client wanting to discuss confidential information but there's just a sofa in an open room for you do it in or small meeting rooms with thin, echoy walls? More versatile office design makes concessions for this by creating private areas for such occasions; such as private work and meeting rooms.
  • Distractions. There's nothing worse than when you're needing to get something important done and you can't concentrate because there's noise. It doesn't necessarily have to be loud – different noises resonate with different people, creating a distraction for them. Not only will the work suffer but your wellbeing and mood will too. Many people, in order to get on with their work, may put earphones in (to listen to something that they do resonate with) and this, if we say so ourselves, is entirely against the spirit of collaborative open plan design.
  • Effects on Wellbeing. There's no doubting that stress is the villain when it comes to the world of work – it is, after all, the largest cause of employee sick leave in the UK. As we touched on earlier, not feeling like you're equipped to do your job to the best of your abilities will only lead to a downturn in a person's mood. How long will it be before it turns to stress if such aspects remain a constant?

    This is precisely why businesses are turning to flexible office design in order to combine the two open and private elements – an office refurbishment is a great way to boost mood in the workplace and make employees feel valued. In terms of privacy, a conduit can easily be found – the inclusion of dividers balance the open office 'feel' and the lack of privacy. Employees can still communicate but yet keep themselves away from any chit-chat during those important periods of the working day when concentration is an absolute must.

You don't necessarily have to knock down walls or move to a new facility to possess the perfect office design; ultimately, you need to find the right balance that will allow your employees to feel comfortable, inspired, happy, communicative and committed to achieving the business's ethos and aims. If you're unsure on how to do so, why not get in touch with a professional office design company today?

Oaktree Interiors – High-Quality Office Design In Southwark, London and The South East.

Looking to refurbish your office interiors? Why not consider our office design in Southwark service to help your business achieve its aims? Regardless of your requirements, you can feel that with Oaktree Interiors, we will be able to create the perfect bespoke office fit out for you.

If you would like to know more about open office design, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. You can give us a call on 0845 474 3556 or you can send an e-mail enquiry to hello@oaktreeoffice.com.

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