The days of stuffy work environments, über boring decor, and closed off working spaces are going the way of the dinosaur. As technologies evolve and work needs change, companies are acknowledging the need for more adaptable workspaces as well. Companies like Google, Facebook, Pandora and Urban Outfitters are spearheading the charge in creating an encouraging space to foster creativity, innovation, contemplation, and collaboration — creating an intensely valid case for space.
One of the best things about open spaces is that there will be fewer annoying email chains, and less wait time to get an answer to a 10-second question. People can walk past each other in the halls, stop at a co-workers desk to ask a question, or join a group already stopped in discussion to get an answer. This spontaneous collaboration helps people to make decisions and gain insight they may have otherwise passed up, or missed entirely if not for the open workspace. (continued below)
While open spaces enhance collaboration, closed off spaces — like conference rooms — become a haven for more focused collaboration, and allow you to gain the full attention of your co-workers. They also serve as a quiet place to fully gather your thoughts before a big meeting, or as a place for you to lay all your materials out on a table and really dig into the work in front of you.
The trend is beginning to become more popular as the working world is realizing that these open spaces are leading to improved productivity. Stephen Searer, who runs the website Office Snapshots, acknowledges this shift. When asked about the direction office design is moving in, he gave this answer on his about page:
“It definitely feels like things are moving in the direction of open plan offices — to some degree companies are already there. But office designers seem to be moving past the simple “lots of desks in a room” approach, and are offering a variety of spaces for different work needs. I’d guess that work will be more distributed in the future as well.”
By utilizing the workplace environment in a more useful and creative manner, it will allow employees to work how they want, where they want. We spend an astronomical amount of our lives at work, and that space should be devoted to letting us do the best possible work in the most conducive environment.