How to Design a Modern Open Plan Office


Table and chairs in a modern spacious office

Open office is seen as a way to dismantle a rigid hierarchical structure and embrace a brave new business philosophy. The old order stood on the pillars of cellular offices and cubicle workspaces. In some sectors like the tech industry, they are abandoned in favor of an open office layout, which seems to be all the rage. However, you do not want to tap into this design school just to be trendy. There are plenty of good reasons to consider it, reasons that have a lot to do with productivity, cooperation, and success of the company as a whole.

Balanced layout

The main advantage of using an open plan is related to better communication, team-integration, and knowledge-sharing.  There are simply more space and incentives for impromptu meetings and chance interactions to take place. People are brought closer together and have an opportunity to converse, bond, and exchange ideas. Yet, this kind of design is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Some people argue against open plan due to its main drawback— the lack of privacy and higher noise level. Well, the trick is to strike a fine balance. Namely, you want to encourage lively collaboration, but also enable other types of work, especially those that require peace and quiet. With smart design and creative solutions, it is definitely possible to get the best of both worlds.

But, first, take a good look at how your organization and individual employees work. Your goal should be to produce a space that reflects patterns and habits of people who are going to use it. So, designate the main communal area and plan private, enclosed spaces (bookable private rooms, for instance) to complement it. Accommodate different types of work, including casual meetings, planned meeting, typical desk work, team collaboration, etc.

Productive office space

Do not cram too many people and stuff into a small footprint. Foster a clean, truly open, and airy space. There are many design steps that take your closer to this goal. Note, for example, that tables should not be close to each other. Therefore, measure twice and cut once. Also, think about the feel and atmosphere. State-of-the-art design and Google-worthy décor are certainly a blast, but you have to blend nice visuals with functional design.

Large windows are a great way to maximize the natural light, which brings soothing ambiance as well as various health and productivity benefits. Lighting is also a staple element of utility, so apart from natural blessings you should make the most of multiple sources of artificial light.

Make sure to address the noise levels with suitable solutions like timber slats. These acoustic panels can reduce the sounds that occur when people are walking around the office, talking to each other or even just typing. Reducing the noise in the office can lead to a great boost in productivity, so it’s definitely worth the investment.

 

Home away from home

At the same time, strive to include home benefits and comforts. First of all, invest in high-quality ergonomic furniture. It makes all those long hours of sitting easier and alleviates issues like back pain. Try to introduce multiple options like standard desks, standing benches, and sofas. Stimulate people to get up and move around more. Give them the freedom to chose and capitalize on the flexibility of the space.

Finally, give everyone a chance to rewind and take a break without having to leave the building. We have seen so many companies creating stunning lounge and chill out areas with comfy furniture. The beauty of it is that these spaces can always double as unplanned working areas as well. And if you can afford it, go an extra mile: implement amenities like foosball tables, gaming consoles, pool, craft coffee, etc.

To successfully reshape and rethink a work environment, you need to come up with intelligent design solutions that echo your company’s culture and responds to needs and preferences of workers. So, embrace a layered approach. Provide a diversity and balance of spaces that allow different types of work to flow uninterruptedly. Cultivate a feel-good atmosphere of bustling productivity and collaboration. Prevent noise, interruptions, and privacy deficiency from impeding your designing efforts.  Harness the power of variety, flexibility, and functional simplicity.

Emma Loftus

Emma is a writer and a home décor enthusiast. She believes that good design can be found at the intersection between beautiful and functional. Her inspiration comes from travelling and exposing herself to new experiences. When she is not busy exploring the world, she is writing about new interior design trends.

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