Are You Happy In Your Work?

Working in the right environment makes people happier and companies more productive. Managing the mix between open-plan and private office space is crucial for employers and employees. Many organisations believe shared office space encourages collaboration and reduces costs. Critics, however, argue that the opposite is true.

The idea of working in an open-plan office has become more popular in recent years, as a way to boost morale, increase interaction and encourage shared learning between people and teams from different parts of the organisation.

The move to open-plan working can, however, create difficulty, as some people prefer private space and value private time for periods of quiet work removed from any surrounding chaos.

Others see it as a mercenary way for companies to cram and crush people into smaller spaces and save money on rent and overhead costs.

Private offices give people a sense of ownership and the comfort of having their own domain; it provides them with a feeling of not being too closely managed or controlled or spied upon.

A private office offers the opportunity for calm reflective time and space removed from others and the demands of others where focussed and concentrated work can be undertaken.

Finding the right balance between open and private office space is challenging for managers, designers and workforce planners, as people differ in what they want and how they like to work.

Technology too plays a role as it enables mobile and remote working without the need for a permanent fixed space: it also provides greater access and reduces the costs of employing staff in static or expensive locations.

Too much mobility, however, can cause difficulties as teamwork, the sharing of information and collaborative working between different parts of the organisation can suffer with a resultant negative effect on performance and productivity.

The secret, of course, is to achieve a balance that allows a mix of open-plan and private office space to suit the tasks that need to be done and the people who need to do them.

It is also important to consider the culture of the organisation and the personalities and skills of individuals, as different people want different types of space at different times to perform to their best.

To accommodate individual preferences and specific tasks the best approach is to provide a range of spaces, so managers can choose what works for people and best suits the organisation.

Work environments should, ideally, be designed in different shapes and sizes and formats, as getting the balance right has significant long-term benefits for employers and employees.

SO, creating the right working environment is a challenge and never more so than today given the need for a productive and happy workforce.