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Guide to the Future of Open Office Space

Open-plan offices arose in an attempt to “convey a modern, break-all-the-rules attitude.” Unfortunately, open floor design trends became the new rule in the process.

Kyle Chandler

Client Relations

If you Google the phrase open office spaces at this moment in time, you may be disappointed by the results. For example, three of the top four results read:

At DESIGN+BUILD, we admit that there are challenges in designing and deploying an open office layout. Still, many of these challenges stem from misconceptions about what open office design can and should be. Open-plan offices arose in an attempt to “convey a modern, break-all-the-rules attitude.” Unfortunately, open floor design trends became the new rule in the process.

In this blog, we’ll set the record straight and explore how we’re still using open concepts to benefit businesses like yours.

What Open Design Isn’t

There’s plenty of information out there about what open office design supposedly is and where it came from. For example, in Aytekin Tank’s article (the first one listed above), he explains the origin and principle of open offices spaces as:

Silicon Valley firms were among the first to champion open workspaces, where employees sit shoulder to shoulder at communal desks. They tore down walls and eliminated private offices as outdated symbols of the corporate hierarchy.

Although growing from humble, noble roots, the consensus seems to be that open office theory failed as an experiment in office design. But what if the experiment didn’t fail so much as the hypothesis changed?

At DESIGN+BUILD, we don’t confine open space concepts to the anti-hierarchical genesis whence they came. Instead, we see open designs as continually evolving to adapt to ever-changing business needs. As a result, open layouts offer the flexibility to make changes ongoing with interchangeable spaces prepared to facilitate growth.

DESIGN+BUILD is returning to the no-rules origins of open office ideas. Here’s how.

The New Open Office Ideals

Prioritizing a Balance of Space

We admit that many open office spaces take the idea of open a bit too literally. In fact, one of the biggest complaints from employees who have worked in open offices is the inherent noise distraction. In the attempt to foster collaboration, the old ideas of what an open office should be restricted collaboration by leaving everything out in the open at all times—even tasks that are better handled on one’s own. That’s why open spaces are just as defined by smaller, personal areas as they are by open ones.

Let’s be honest. Responding to emails in an overflowing inbox doesn’t require a collaborative environment. At DESIGN+BUILD, we believe that an open office only works if it has a balance of private, quiet spaces for more individualized tasks. Our team takes the time to understand workflows to build spaces that are optimized for your mission-critical functions. That means our open offices prioritize private spaces just as much as public areas. As a result, your team has equal access to spaces that encourage collaboration together with areas that inspire focus and concentration.

Understanding Your Team’s Workflows

Many open-office concepts come from projecting how employees should work instead of how they actually work. As a result, open offices frequently close doors that were once open by trying to deliver too much of a good thing.

At DESIGN+BUILD, we’re adamantly opposed to office designs that confine your team members to how we believe they should work. Instead, we take the time to understand how they already work in an existing space. From that understanding, we can redesign space or build a new space around the way they work. Instead of imposing our ideas, we wish to expose approaches to facilitating face-to-face interactions throughout the day while allowing them to move about the office space in an organic way.

Growing With You, Not Against You

Many of the organizations we partner with describe themselves as prioritizing growth. That means they need a space that’s built to grow with them, not slow their growth down. Satisfying this need is where open spaces really shine. Gone are the days of having a conference room that’s only used once a week. Instead, four days of the week, that space can be broken into several smaller collaboration spaces or offices. Then, on the fifth day, it can go back to being a conference room in a matter of moments.

As your team grows and expands, flex space is critical to welcoming new members without interrupting mission-critical tasks. By building spaces that allow room for growth, the DESIGN+BUILD team prioritizes adding tangible value to your operations while preparing your organization for tomorrow.

Open Your Office to New Possibilities

Want to learn more about our truly open concept philosophy? Reach out to our team today, and we’ll start exploring the possibilities for your new office space.

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