13 Reasons To Love Open Plan Offices

13 Reasons To Love Open Plan Offices

Guest post by Simon Constable , Forbes.com

Open plan offices have gotten too much of a bad name. It’s a shame because they are far better than the alternative which is the ubiquitous cube, or cube farm, as I call the plural.

Here’s why you should love the “no walls” working arrangement.

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You won’t feel like Dilbert. Cartoon character Dilbert works in a cube farm. We laugh at Dilbert’s antics because his office life is worse than ours, but only just. If you sit in an office cube then you could start feeling like Dilbert.

Higher productivity: Most people don’t have jobs that require prolonged cloistering. Interruptions to routine tasks break the monotony and can cause people to return to the tasks at hand more energized, says Frances Milliken, professor of organization and management ay NYU Stern. In any case, let’s face it, your job likely isn’t brain surgery so distractions probably won’t matter too much.

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More fun. It’s easier to fire rubber bands at your friends. In a cube-farm, with typical 5ft-high gray cloth walls, it’s harder to aim accurately. Trust me, I’ve done research on the matter.

It’s hip. Small start-ups usually begin with a room and some tables. Walls come later when the company gets corporate, which is very unhip.

No fake privacy. In open plan offices, no one can creep up on you and listen in to your conversations. They can when you are sitting in a cube.

Aids collaboration. Walls stop you from sharing so much. Be a sharer.

More sunbathing. In an open plan office, you can sunbathe from the light streaming in through the windows. “There’s a lot of research on the positive effects of natural light on mood and productivity,” says Milliken. It’s better than the never see daylight situation where you go to work in the dark, come home in the dark, with florescent lights in-between.

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Better conversation. Instead of sending an email you can turn around and ask a question when collaborating on a project.

Find your friends more easily. When you need your employees, colleagues, or boss, you can just look around you. Cube walls hamper that from happening so readily.

Better training. It’s easier to train new employees because you can slide your seat along to their desk and look over their shoulder. Works vice versa. Impromptu training can be given with less hassle.

Less waiting. You don’t end up hanging around outside the boss’s office waiting for them to be free. Instead, you can sit at your desk and see when they are available. If it’s a large office, get binoculars.

You won’t miss the pizza. Seriously, forget cold pizza leftovers. Instead, see when the pies get delivered, then go grab a slice while it is hot.

Less isolating. Sitting enclosed by three gray cloth walls staring at a screen can really get to you after a while.

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