7 months, 1 week ago

From Mark Zuckerberg to Tim Cook, many popular technology company leaders praise the open, interactive work space. The goal of an open office environment is to increase collaboration and communication, reduce construction costs, break down barriers, and create a collegiate workplace culture, but at the same time there are some flaws that some people cannot adapt, just like the feelings of the subject. Will feel uncomfortable.

The Oxford Economics Institute conducted a survey of more than 600 executives and more than 600 employees. The results of the survey show that open office threats to productivity and employee mentality are greater than most executives realize, and most People do not have a strategy to deal with these problems.

Unlike bosses, many employees say the company's environment lacks privacy, noise pollution, and employees are overexposed to distracting conversations or discussions in many informal meetings. There have also been reports that “gender discrimination in the environment” occurs in women working in open offices, who feel they are overexposed and subject to rigorous scrutiny.

Another study found that people working in open-office offices are taking nearly two-thirds more sick leave than those who retain more privacy, and that they are more unhappy, more stressed, and more productive. Lower. A study conducted by Harvard Business School in 2018 found that open-plan offices reduced about 70% of face-to-face communication and increased email and instant messaging by about 50%, breaking the tradition of open office collaboration for employees. impression. Georgetown University professor Calvin Newport’s views are more controversial. He feels that open office has become a way to show the value of the company to venture capitalists and talents. The goal is not to increase productivity and collaboration, but to show the company. Doing something interesting.

However, the symbolic meaning of open office planning is too strong and low cost, and many companies cannot give up. As a result, the open office environment has fallen into a controversial situation. Next, we will discuss the benefits of open office planning, how it affects employee productivity and mental state, and how to use it properly to make open office planning work.

Advantages and disadvantages of an open work environment


1. Strengthen communication

Open office space is prone to spontaneous brainstorming and informal group discussions, where colleagues can freely collaborate, exchange ideas, and seek help when needed. The fluid communication environment enables them to build good relationships with colleagues and create a pleasant and harmonious atmosphere.

2. Enhance cooperation

This is the biggest benefit expected of open space. Although there are many web-based tools to help us collaborate in the workplace, face-to-face communication is still more productive.

Junior staff are more likely to get close to senior management and create cooperation. Employees feel the same respect and attention. Everyone in the office feels part of the same team, so collaboration innovation between employees and departments usually increases.

3. Reduce costs

The open office allows more employees to work in a single space, which is much more cost effective in initial setup, heating, air conditioning and cleaning. Open spaces can also be easily reconfigured as needed.


Emotional health problem

Because open-plan office plans are accompanied by more interference and lack of privacy, they will give some employees the psychological burden of maintaining their “high-efficiency job image”. They are always exhausted and cautious, and have long been under stress, anxiety and suspicious mental state. .

In addition, open-ended offices are designed to increase social interaction, which can make introverts feel particularly anxious and run out of energy for the inevitable existence of others. Open offices can cause introverts to suffer from panic attacks or other stress-related illnesses.

2. Sex discrimination

Women face many unique challenges in the workplace, one of which is that many men (and some women) view women's appearance as a representative of their credibility. Open-ended offices increase the physical visibility of employees, forcing women to focus on appearance. At the same time, they have been criticized by more commentators, and they have undergone a lot of eye-catching examinations, and they have under tremendous pressure. To make matters worse, the open office seating layout creates plenty of opportunities for identifiable sexual harassment.


People are easily distracted in an open environment, you will hear a lot of conversations and noises around you, and you start to notice the annoying habits of your colleagues.

At the same time, open-plan offices force you to handle multiple tasks at the same time, because every moment you are stimulated, the attention is focused on the movements of people around you. This is a burden on the focus mechanism that our body itself performs. According to research, in the long run, the brain has demonstrated cognitive control, motivation, emotional regulation, working memory (the ability to store relevant information while performing tasks) and long-term memory (the ability to store and recall information over a long period of time). weakness.

How to better use open space?

For employers:

1. Gender Culture Training and Code of Conduct

The high walls built between the lattices cannot solve the root causes of workplace bias problems, and cultural change and training can fundamentally solve these problems. Conducting gender culture training will help employees recognize any prejudice presets they may have and how to address them.

Establish unrelated behaviors in the Code of Conduct or the Employee Handbook and set policies. In this way, both men and women are aware of what is problematic. Anyone who has experienced discrimination in an office environment can dare to speak up and give this question back to senior management.

2. Optimize open space design

The workplace should have a variety of spaces, closed, open, shared, and separate. Today, workplace strategists advocate that the office environment should be consistent with the company's strategic goals: provide space so people can do their best jobs.

Introducing private space into an open office environment, allowing employees and departments to choose the most suitable space for different jobs. From focusing on personal tasks in quiet rooms, to collaborating in crowded rooms, and charging in meditation areas – they are able to stay focused, maintain privacy and be happy.

At least, sound-insulated and opaque partitions allow natural light to be illuminated, ensuring that the office has noise barriers around noisy office equipment, carpets, ceilings and panel systems that help absorb noise, making these simple and economical additions Integrating functionality into your office can also be a big help.

3. Communicate to achieve synergistic productivity

This is the most critical part of your open-plan plan. It all comes to collaboration and productivity. Let your employees participate in discussions about how the company understands collaboration and productivity. Conduct more mentoring conversations with employees reporting to different supervisors to help them resolve unclear expectations and priorities.

For employees:

Don't be afraid if you work in an open office for the first time. Talk to your colleagues and see how they fit. Everyone has a different way to find their best. Think about the people around you, you will do well.

1. Book a meeting room

Some open office environments include conference rooms (or quiet small rooms) that people can use, so avoiding interference there can be an option. Try to book a one or two hour meeting room, colleagues will think that the reserved meeting room needs privacy, you can not be disturbed during work.

2. Put on the headphones

If you can't stand the chatter of your colleagues, try wearing a noise-cancelling headset at work. You can also find a website with a variety of white noise and environmental sounds as background music, reducing the noise around you and causing interference and influence on yourself.

3. Tomato work method

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that focuses entirely on work and has a short break after every 25 minutes. This kind of work method can help you avoid interference as much as possible, and it has a golden focus time period, which can greatly improve the efficiency of work.

4. Fresh air and exercise

Fresh air and exercise can greatly ease the stress you accumulate in an open office environment. Take a walk around the street while you are resting, go to your favorite restaurant, or have a lunch on the park bench. Exercise also helps to boost your mood. Have a light walk or even a run during outdoor breaks. Leaving your office for a while can provide a sense of perspective and relieve stress.

If the plan of an open office wants to play its biggest role and advantage, managers need to consider the culture of the organization, the needs of employees, and the nature of the work of employees. The employees also actively and effectively adjust and adapt according to their own situations. Thus, the open office plan It can bring positive productivity.


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