Is Your Team Ready for an Open Office? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

May 26, 2017

The open office is here to stay. Notable firms are transforming their traditional office suites into free-flowing environments with overlapping workspaces, multifunctional booths, and floor-to-ceiling windows letting in the light and the view.

The open office concept is a great way to inspire creativity and cooperation between staff members. But it’s not for every office worker. Ask yourself the following five questions before you commit to rearranging your office layout.

Where Do Your People Actually Work?

Do workers at your firm remain at their desks throughout the day? Are most of their tasks and responsibilities handled in their current individual workspaces? Or, do your employees collaborate, work, and meet away from their desks?

If your team is constantly circulating and meeting up away from their individual cubicles or offices, an open office concept is an ideal way to facilitate the group work style. With an open office, work spaces can be configured in a variety of ways to accommodate brainstorming, project development, meetings, presentations, and more.

When Do You Hold Meetings?

Does your business rely on routine meetings to inspire, motivate, and educate your staff? Does your daily work involve meetings to discuss sensitive cases or contracts?

Open-office designs that allow for instant group spaces are ideal for companies that conduct frequent staff meetings. When the workspace flows easily from one space to the next, workers move into meetings and out again with less disruption and distraction.

An open-office design that includes private, secure meeting space is vital in a business where discretion is required. Arranging an outer, “open” zone and an inner private zone is one way some firms maintain both office flexibility and client confidentiality.

Some businesses rarely assemble their staff for meetings. These businesses may not even have conference rooms or dedicated group meeting spaces. An open office may still be an answer for firms like this.

If there’s a need for drafting, design, or collaboration space, an open-office concept accommodates these tasks. Flexible work spaces and nooks are smart business features for a creative company to offer, even if the business never holds group meetings.

What Features Do Clients and Visitors Need?

How often do clients or visitors contact your office in person? Do you have frequent customer contact, or do you have a sales staff that only makes outside calls?

If your clients won’t ever stop by your office, there’s no need to take customer niceties into account when designing your office floor plan. If your business relies on in-person contacts, an open-office concept helps sell your services.

Expansive views and accessible insight into your staff’s workday processes help clients feel more at ease. Closed up in a well-appointed office, a potential client may feel isolated, vulnerable, or claustrophobic while waiting to meet with you. When the same client sees your staff moving about, they get a sense of being let in on the inner workings of your company. They feel more trusting of your firm.

How Well Does the Staff Follow Rules?

Is your office team good about respecting protocol? Do they share equipment easily? Do they adapt to new rules and procedures or do they balk at change?

In order for an open office to work for everyone, your staff must be willing to change some of their daily work habits, locations, and equipment resources. New rules are implemented to ensure that every person understands the changed office environment and its limitations. If you have workers who don’t follow rules or share with others well, the open concept may not be the best fit for your firm.

An open-office concept is welcomed by more social, rule-following people than by those who prefer to work in private. Staff members who hate change are often thrown for a loop when there are no more assigned desks. They may feel self-conscious or resentful when others can watch them throughout the day.

It’s possible to accommodate more private workers and have an open office at the same time. Create a small block of private offices for the shy workers, but be prepared for some workers to suddenly claim to be shy, too. It’s a good idea to conduct a survey of your staff prior to implementing an open-office concept, especially if you’re not sure how your staff will cope with the drastic changes.

Why Are You Considering an Open Office?

Do you believe an open office will facilitate an easier workload and higher productivity for your staff? Or, do you want an open office because it’s trendy right now? The truth is, open offices have been around for a while. They aren’t a magic answer to company problems or a fun fad to use and discard in a few years.

Opening your office up to create scalable, flexible spaces requires a lot of upheaval and workplace adaptation from your workers. Ask yourself how an open office will actually benefit your team before changing the building simply for the look.

Yes, your clients will love your new minimalist, open-office concept and praise you for your edgy aesthetic. If your team is miserable and losing time on the clock due to ongoing disruption and improper space allocation, the concept is a waste.

Hartman Income REIT is your source for open offices and traditional offices in the Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio areas. Contact us today to find the office space you need to succeed.