The Impact of Open Office Plan

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Does the management ever stop to think about the office conditions in which their employees work? How comfortable are they as per the authorities’ estimate? Within any firm, a large percentage of the workforce spends most of their time at the office, which implies that the workplace should reflect their moods and should motivate, entice and excite them. An open - plan office is a solution that managers around the world have widely used for their employees. An open office might look like a future workplace–but is it?

However, what exactly is an open office plan? An open - plan office (also known as an open - space office) is a solution for managing a company's workplace. It is precisely what one would expect in many ways: an open space without single rooms where employees sit and work together. They may or may not be separated by short cubicle walls. Working in an open - plan office very often means one is in plain sight of their colleagues-and can easily follow one's every movement (MacLellan, 2018).

The office is awful, horrible, no good, horrible idea. Not because there are no people, who enjoy working in an open office, quite a few do, however, in a distinct minority. The vast majority of people dislike the open office or hate it. So precisely how will that work? Of course, by force! Open offices are more attractive to managers because they do not need to protect their own time and attention. Few managers have a timetable that allows or even requires long hours of uninterrupted time for a single creative pursuit (Bernstein & Turban, 2018).

Moreover, it is these managers who design office layouts and sign leases. It is also these managers who book photo shots from the FUN-FUN office, give visits to investors and have interviews with journalists. The open office is an excellent base for all these activities. Supervisors chose this layout because they believe it will allow them to remove communication bottlenecks, employees are close to the company's events, brings about a sense of equality. Moreover, it makes employee integration simpler, along with more comfortable handling and it overall less expensive.

However, it is not conducive to better cooperation. A new study shows that the argument number one for the open office, increased collaboration, is stupid. Converting traditional offices into open - plan offices with walls and doors causes face - to - face interaction to plummet, not rise. People try to shield their attention by withdrawing into headphone-clad cocoons and rely instead on instant messaging or email to interact (Beth, 2018).

The open office is now a continuum. The worst is when one has dozens of people in the same room from all departments. Sales, marketing, support, administration, programmers, designers. They have very different needs for quiet, concentration or use of telephones or open conversation. Mixing them is the top of poor open office design. Less bad— but still not great— is to have dozens of people again in the same room but from mainly the same or complementary functions. Putting programmers, designers, writers all in one. The problem here is that even in the same domain, different people will have a very different awareness of what a reasonable level of conversation or interruption is. Remember, a significant minority of even creative people enjoy the open office!

None is new. An endless series of studies have shown that the open - plan office is a source of stress, conflict and turnover. Moreover, yet it is the technology default. A nearly certain default. It is a travesty (Apgar, 1998). The fact that the employee always has to be available, for whatever communication the office mates deem necessary puts a hamper on the creative juices and working solutions for the problems. Moreover, increased noise and distraction, forcing them to use headphones and avoid the ruckus is also an inconvenience.

The image chosen for this essay, an open office, reflects the new and modern management style that has been adopted almost everywhere and has become an industry standard of late. However, what most managers and supervisors fail to grasp is the idea that not everybody likes to be a part of a group environment. Many people tend to work alone. The subdivisions within the major departments need to have their privacy so that they can work on their ideas independently and without any interference from people who have no concern regarding the nature of their work (Beard & McGinn, 2018).

Besides, even if the managers feel that if everybody is visible and he or she can track his or her movements rather quickly, it just showcases the lazy nature of the supervisor and forces the workers to come up with creative solutions to problems that should not exist in the first place. The decrease in productivity and the decline in results can be attributed to poor management decisions by bringing together people from different workstations and holding them in like cattle. This style of management is being pushed since the early 2000’s and has not shown any positive effects on the way people work. Most of the studies conducted on this field suggest that people find these workstations an annoyance and feel like it hampers their productivity.

Additionally, the shrugging on the part of the management towards creating individual workstations and dedicated office spaces, push people to look for employment elsewhere or seek jobs that allow them to work remotely. So that they can concentrate on the urgent matters that require immediate attention and not be casually diverted by the incessant demands of those who fail to grasp the concept of do not disturb (Ogden, 2018). There is only so much time an employee can dedicate towards time management and creating blocking zones to focus on their quality of work. Ultimately, it the responsibility of the supervisors to ensure that the environment is healthy and balanced.

References

Apgar, M. I., 1998. The Alternative Workplace: Changing Where and How People Work. Harvard Business Review, Issue May-June, pp. 121-138.

Beard, A. & McGinn, D., 2018. Office Spaces. [Sound Recording] (Harvard Business Review Podcast).

Bernstein, E. S. & Turban, S., 2018. The impact of the 'open' workspace on human collaboration. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 373(1753).

Beth, M., 2018. Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70%. [Online]

Available at: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/07/in-open-offices-workers-chat-70-less-are-less-productive-and-email-more/

[Accessed 26 October 2018].

MacLellan, L., 2018. Open-plan offices have a surprising effect on workplace communication. [Online]

Available at: https://qz.com/work/1322146/a-harvard-business-school-study-found-open-plan-offices-have-a-surprising-effect-on-our-collective-intelligence/

[Accessed 26 October 2018].

Ogden, J., 2018. What Science Says About Open Offices — and 6 Things You Can Do About It. [Online]

Available at: https://www.workfront.com/blog/what-science-says-about-open-offices

[Accessed 26 October 2018].

October 24, 2023
Category:

Business Economics

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Corporations Management

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Company

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