Who wouldn’t love working in a collaborative environment that encourages discussions and sharing of ideas? Well, that’s the reason why modern office layouts are incorporating open plan layout more than ever.

You may not be wrong in saying the open-plan office layout suits today’s agile and collaborative office environment the best since it has been the foremost choice for modern office spaces for a while. That being said, an open-plan layout is also not free from criticisms. It is often criticised for not providing an ideal environment for specific job roles and certain personality types. Critics question if introverts survive in an open-plan office or creativity has a chance to grow.

The criticisms make sense to some extent, but It doesn’t mean it’s unfixable.

You can opt for an open-plan layout and still maintain privacy to provide an ideal environment for all your team members. But how? The answer starts with the understanding of your operations, job roles, and team members.

If you are having a hard time creating privacy in your open-plan layout, this blog is for you. Before jumping in to plan the ‘next best layout’ that perfectly suits all your team members and operations, you should understand why you even need privacy.

Who Needs Privacy?

It’s not just certain types of people but also job roles that don’t perform as expected in an open plan layout built for agile operations and continuous collaboration. Personality types may profoundly affect what job roles they prefer, but it’s not always necessary that certain people always stick to specific job roles. Some introverts can nail marketing roles perfectly, and some extroverts can produce great creative pieces.

  • Some jobs require a high level of precision and special attention, so they may require a quiet and private environment, which is not something an open-plan layout offers entirely. Designers, programmers, writers, engineers etc., mostly prefer private workstations and scheduled meetings.
  • Most introverts prefer working alone, but that doesn’t mean they hate collaboration. They are more into following planned routines no matter what job role they take.

Why Privacy?

A few studies suggest that the office environment plays a huge role in office employees’ job satisfaction and performance. Therefore, adding a touch of privacy in your office space might do your business and your team a huge favour. Most offices have different departments that take on different tasks. Though the open-plan layout may foster a collaborative environment and support agile operations, it doesn’t entirely support everyone. Since it’s essential for your office layout to support everyone, providing a little private area is always good.

How To Create Privacy In An Open-Plan Layout?

Now that you’ve figured out who needs privacy and why it is essential, it shouldn’t be hard for you to create privacy in an open-plan layout. By saying privacy, you’re making your office space more suitable for people who don’t thrive in highly collaborative environments. Open space is perfect for most of your team members, so let’s not try to fix what’s not broken. Below are the little tricks that will help you create a balanced open-plan layout suitable for everyone.

To maintain this balance, consider using strategically placed dividers and screens to create semi-private workstations within the open space. Toilet partitions can serve as an inspiration for creating these partitions, offering a sense of personal space without completely isolating employees. Additionally, exploring business bathroom ideas for decor and design can inspire creative ways to enhance the overall aesthetic of your open-plan office while ensuring privacy and comfort for all team members. Remember, a thoughtful approach to layout and design can make your workspace a more inclusive and productive environment.

1. Check Noise & Distractions

It is a common misconception that some jobs require quiet environments, while others thrive in loud scenarios. However, a study from Oxford University suggests that ambient noise is best for all personalities and job roles. The open-plan layout is more likely to be noisy, so you’ll need to focus on checking it to a level. There are several ways you can reduce noise inside your workspace, such as managing external sound, isolating noisy areas (especially that run noisy office equipment), installing noise-absorbing ceiling and flooring, etc.

Not everyone can deal with distractions equally when it’s about focusing on their tasks. Therefore, it’s best to provide your team with a distraction-free workspace. You can do it by either providing the team members with private workstations or installing tools, such as privacy screens and noise absorbing partitions around the workspace. Make sure they can be easily installed and removed.

2. Maintain Individual Space

Although some may not have a big issue working in shared desks, providing your people with a place to call their own can be priceless. Employees appreciate it when they feel their office is valuing them. Maintaining a personal space is not very hard these days as you can find a vast range of modular workstations, screens, and partitions in the market. However, you’ll need to be a little more creative while providing the space for your team members, such as designers, developers, and writers, who produce the best in private workstations.

Furthermore, always give special attention to each of your departments’ placement, so they don’t distract the other. For instance, you wouldn’t want to place your marketing team—who needs to frequently communicate with clients and within the team—and creative squad—who needs extensive focus on their work—next to each other.    

3. Offer Alternative Workspaces

Providing a private workspace away from the main work area can be empowering for some employees. For instance, some employees may find it challenging to communicate with clients frequently, with everyone watching what they’re doing. It will affect productivity and may lead to work-related frustrations. A private place will help them perform better.

4. Ask For Frequent Feedback

The best way to know what your team needs is by hearing what they have to say. You’ll only know you need privacy in your open-plan office when your employees enlighten you. Your team may be different from other teams, and privacy may apply differently in your layout. Therefore, always make sure to collect employee reviews.

Additionally, don’t assume you’ll need a costly refurbishment to create an ideal office space for your team. A simple tweak or addition to the open-plan layout can do the trick. All you need to know is what are the conditions that satisfy your people’s needs.

About Direct Office

For the past three decades, Direct Office has been one of Australia’s most trusted office furniture suppliers. We have been making the office furniture buying process more straightforward for offices all over Australia. With the inception of directoffice.com.au, buying office furniture has never been this easy and reasonable. Contact us for open office privacy solutions.

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