The open-plan office design has received much praise over recent years, becoming a staple of professional life largely due to their inherent ability to promote collaboration, teamwork, and the building of meaningful working relationships between colleagues. They can however also be a major source of distractions and in some cases lost productivity, and as such if you want to make the most of such a layout they are some basic principles and rules you and your team should follow.

For example while conversation should not be overly discouraged or outright banned, crucial as it is in terms of team building and collaboration, agreeing to keep unrelated conversation to a minimum in the office can help to reduce distractions and allow for greater efficiency. You should also try to provide a variety of spaces from collaborative areas to private quiet spaces, allowing individual workers to find the working environment best suited to the task at hand.

You can further enhance the collaborative merits of the environment by ensuring ample access to white boards and/or interactive screens, allowing for the easy sharing of ideas wherever you may be situated within the office. On the other hand you can reduce unwarranted interruptions by making use of some sort of ‘do not disturb’ flagging system, whether that be an electronic traffic-light-based system or a simple pop up notice.

One aspect that is also becoming increasingly important is the integration of relevant technologies, from desktop computers and portable tablet PCs to space management software and databases; technology rules the business world and cannot under any circumstances be overlooked. The exact technological demands of your business will of course depend on the company and industry in question, but you would be hard-pressed to find a business of any kind that now runs efficiently with zero technological input.

Overall you should be trying to create a balanced workspace with an emphasis on variation, allowing your team to work to the best of their ability regardless of personal preference and/or current task. On top of that, consideration for your colleagues is arguably the most important attribute, allowing for fast and effective collaboration without unnecessary interruptions or distractions.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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