Reducing Number Of Private Offices, Cutting Workspace Has Pros, Cons
The net result of the latest efforts in social engineering cannot always be predicted in advance. Some businesses thrive in a more open, collaborative space while others, because of the nature of their work, cannot. Business leaders must be cognizant of how their business is conducted prior to adopting a new space strategy.
The most notable trend today is the re-evaluation of private, enclosed offices. There are clear pros and cons to the reduction or elimination of offices. The advantages include a greater sense of team-building, increased opportunities for communication and collaboration, and heightened managerial awareness of staff performance. When managers are present within the staff environment, employees are more cognizant of who may be witnessing what they're doing. The most important benefit, however, is access. Employees in proximity of their managers leverage that closeness for professional direction, conflict resolution, and guidance.
At the same time, the disadvantages of a decision to eliminate — or reduce the number of — offices are notable. Many managers have paid dearly for educations or worked diligently to achieve the status symbol of an office with a door. Stripping them of that prize is a blow to their egos. Additionally, some managers who sit in an open plan space or workstations, regardless of size, feel their authority is compromised. Whether that is in fact the case, this perception can have a devastating impact on a manager's ability to lead effectively. On a productivity level, many managers feel they cannot be as agile in managing affairs that require confidentiality and lose a degree of spontaneity to immediately address sensitive issues. Planning for privacy, in their perspective, is not efficient.