The Open Office Isn’t for Every Organization
Way back in May, 2010, I titled a post: “I Still Like My Big Window Office” as the collaborative open office trend was accelerating. Over the past 3 years, if you searched the blogosphere or industry trade publications for articles about the open collaborative office, you will find no shortage of commentary on the subject along with photos of beautiful offices of primarily technology firms and management consulting organizations, who were among the first to embrace the open collaborative office layout and alternative work strategies.
Recently, there has been significant discussion regarding the downside of the open office environment. Global design and architecture firm, Gensler’s most recent workplace survey suggests that workplace design is out of balance and there is increasing sentiment that corporate users initiatives designed to minimize occupancy costs has taken workplace efficiency too far.
Some have suggested that the need for office space will continue to diminish, but I have always contended that the need for face-to-face collaboration in the workplace is critical and those predictions are off base.
In Houston, the dominant users of office space, the energy industry shunned the open office concept some time ago, as they found workers not only demanded but needed private offices for effective work. We recently relocated and redesigned our office at Colliers International Houston and while we incorporated more collaborative meeting space, the private office for our senior professionals remains in tact as we believe much like the energy industry that not only is it critical for recruiting and retaining top talent, but also necessary for effective work.
There is no question we are entering a new era of workplace design with an increasing focus on how office space can make workers more effective. While the debate will continue, it is also apparent is that the private office will still have a role in the new workplace. Long Live the private office!