Making Open Office Plans More Productive and Inspiring
Open Offices are easily the most controversial corporate office trend since shoulder pads. Widely popular, open office plans tout a long range of benefits—everything from design flexibility and cost-savings to promoting collaboration amongst coworkers. Despite this, open office plans have their drawbacks. According to a recent study at Harvard University, offices that switch from a traditional office plan to an open office plan have a marked and consistent decrease in face-to-face interaction—which may lead to a drop in productivity. For those among us who have worked in an open office, this comes as no surprise. Noise and lack of privacy are big concerns for anyone who’s ever worked in such an environment. Thankfully, there are subtle touches that you can make to improve any open office plan.
Reducing Noise in Open Offices
If you’re noticing an increase in headphone use since you switched from traditional to open offices, don’t be surprised. Your staff may simply be trying to block out their noisy desk-mates. Breaking down barriers in your office means removing sound barriers, too. Some staff members will likely attempt to be conscientious of their neighbors by switching to e-mail for conversations. This will cut back on the noise, but decrease their productivity. Others will carry on with face-to-face conversations like normal, but they will bother others in the office. What can you do to decrease the noise and increase productivity?
When normal sound barriers are removed, ceiling choices can dramatically improve office acoustics. ATI offers Decorative Acoustic Ceiling Tiles, which not only add a decorative component to ceilings but also add noise-absorption benefits. Unlike other acoustic ceiling tiles which are flat and plain, ATI’s decorative acoustic tiles are very affordable and available in a wide variety of decorative patterns. These 2’ x 2’ tiles are available in black or white (paintable) and come in over 40 patterns. They can be used with existing mineral fiber tiles, eliminating the need to discard current materials and providing a higher NRC rating (Noise Reduction Coefficient) when used in combination. This means you can break down barriers in the office without adding extra disturbances.
Creating Private Spaces for Staff
In theory, removing physical barriers between coworkers should increase face-to-face communication. In practice, not so much. According to experts, “When office architecture makes everyone more observable or ‘transparent’, it can dampen face-to-face interaction, as employees find other strategies to preserve their privacy; for example, by choosing a different channel through which to communicate.” This adds up to a giant loss of opportunity for collaboration. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution that gives office staff the privacy they need.
With ATI’s Fusion program, you can create beautiful, inspiring panels that can be used to create clear division of workspace without putting up literal walls. Choose from a variety of adaptable, durable substrates, including clear options like acrylic, polycarbonate, and Luxcore Plus. Combine these substrates with your choice of semi-transparent or opaque graphics and our hanging cable system to creat the illusion of floating divider panels, artwork, and more. These panels will keep your office feeling light and open while giving your team spaces where they can collaborate or work privately. What’s more, Fusion panels are a great way to showcase your company culture with unique artwork. The additional texture and imagery will inspire both staff and visitors.
Building a Better Open Office
Whether you’re thinking about converting to an open office plan or want to improve an existing one, you have the power to make the open office better. Improving open offices means boosting productivity and employee morale. By adding ceiling tiles with acoustic properties and creating spaces for privacy, you can create a space that staff want to occupy. These small changes add up for big workflow impact.
If you need assistance with your space, speak with an ATI representative today. They can help you determine which ATI solution is right for you.