By Taylor Landis
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the ongoing debate over which office floor plan is better, more efficient, and more productive: the open-plan office or the cubicle farm. Open offices encourage teamwork and collaboration and connect you socially to your employees and work environment, but most people aren’t a fan of all the noise, distractions, and obvious lack of privacy and inability to focus in this type of work environment.
And then we have the cubicle. You spend forty hours a week, eight hours a day secluded and trapped in a fabric-wrapped cage, separated from all social interaction and basic communication. We’re like robots, typing away on our keyboard all day until we reach 5:00 and we all rush back into reality. I understand that everyone has a unique personality and work style, but both of these common office layouts have some very clear negatives that I don’t want to be faced with; and I’m sure that most of you agree with me. So, what’s the solution? How do we create a work environment fitting for everyone’s unique style and personality? You may think it’s impossible to please everyone, but that’s why the flexible office space was created.
A flexible office space allows for multiple diverse work environments which can be altered and reconfigured as needed. Therefore, you can have multiple rooms that suit each individual’s personality, work style, and job position, and you can reconfigure the rooms or the furniture in the rooms as your company or even as your employees change or grow. Install meeting and conference rooms, huddle rooms, lounges, private offices, silent work rooms, and more. Use modular furniture and demountable walls to allow you to alter your space as needed. Once you’ve created a work environment that everyone is happy with, productivity and efficiency and overall employee well-being will begin to increase.
Flexible office spaces are also extremely cost-effective. Instead of spending the time and money to redesign your entire office after a failed floorplan, company relocation, or growth, you just change the layout yourself. If your company relocates, take your office with you and set up an efficient floor plan and design in your new location.
This flexible office design really is the best of both worlds. I know what it’s like to work in a cubicle desk; hiding in my own little world secluded from reality. However, my job requires me to write all day long. I can’t imagine trying to focus on my writing and come up with creative topics if I couldn’t even hear myself think. How could I concentrate on my own work if there’s a group meeting around every corner and multiple phone calls going on at once; constant interaction between my coworkers and the familiar yet annoying noise of fingernails tapping away at a keyboard that isn’t my own.
In a flexible office space, I could do my work in a private office, nook, cubicle, or silent work area or simply just separate myself behind a partition or room divider, and when I feel a little bit too distant from reality, I could transfer my workspace over to a lounge or group area. Everyone needs a little piece and quiet now and then, as well as a space that feels like our own. Now we can have both without feeling like we’re locked in a cage with our bosses and managers watching over us like zoo keepers.
An office space like that is something that deserves praise from the media. Finally, an office layout that everyone can enjoy and appreciate, instead of listening to and reading about the constant battle between the open-plan office and the cubicle. Instead of just jumping back and forth between the two layouts, maybe it’s time we try something different. A combination of the two sounds like the optimal solution.
Taylor Landis is the lead content marketing and cubicle specialist for Skutchi Designs, a national office cubicle manufacturer specializing in 2 unique cubicle systems and a proprietary demountable wall system that has been heralded by leading architects and designers all over the country. Taylor writes on everything from office interior design to cubicle installation to office decor. She regularly guest posts for major industries and websites, including sites like coworker.com and theeconomist.com.