The Balance of Openness

The Balance of Openness

By:  Julie Knight Today, more than 70% of employees work in an open office environment. This idea of openness in the workplace in order to be more collaborative with other employees and to advance knowledge sharing of information and increase innovation and productivity has made a big impact in the office.  But the impact of all this limpidity has created some of the same barriers it meant to eliminate. With the convergence of different personalities all the office openness can lead to real life distractions.  Not to mention that being observed in an overly open office creates a feeling of exposure and not wanting to do anything that looks out of the ordinary. People need to feel more privacy, not only to do “Heads down” work but to cope with the intensity of how works happens. I have read several articles that discuss the ways that people try to eliminate these distractions in order to be productive, such as using noise cancelling headsets and even calling in sick. These issues can cause decreased engagement and cultural disconnections.  So the face-to-face encounters are a recipe for non-productivity for a large number of workers. Moreover, the team environment is good in theory; but, the team needs a “locker room”. This space can be where the group can talk freely and not feel their every move and word will be scrutinized.  Unrestrained openness can cause people to share less for fear of non-team member scrutiny or by “outside” disruptions. So providing a private environment for groups to experiment, learn and solve problems is essential. So the open office environment must strike a balance between the public and the private space where workers can choose where and how they work. Giving the employee the ability to move from individual time and group time in order to strike a balance in the work day is needed.  This balance is essential in order to provide a constant high performance in the office of today.

Comments are closed.