Open Offices Vs. Office Partitions – Which Office Setting Is Better For Your Organization?

Laveta Brigham

Management is driven by scientific data. So, when the ‘open office’ trend was becoming popular, many top managers across the world were unsure whether it’s a good idea to suddenly make offices open spaces full of employee noise and feedback. However, recent data released suggests that open offices have negative […]

Open Offices Vs. Office Partitions – Which Office Setting Is Better For Your Organization?

Management is driven by scientific data. So, when the ‘open office’ trend was becoming popular, many top managers across the world were unsure whether it’s a good idea to suddenly make offices open spaces full of employee noise and feedback. However, recent data released suggests that open offices have negative effects on employee morale and productivity. In open spaces, competition amongst co-workers increases since there are no private spaces or limits regarding communication. Rising tensions among employees often forced them to create imaginary Office Partitions. “You stay out of my zone, and I will stay out of yours” – this type of attitude can seriously undermine employee relationships and discourage collaboration and fairness.

Here’s why actual office partitions are better than open office spaces:

  • Noise – Most employees working in open spaces hate the noise these spaces unintentionally create. Be it the clicking noises of co-workers tapping away at their computers or phone conversations – it’s almost impossible to make open offices noise-free. On the other hand, physical partitions help contain noises in limited regions. They ensure that employee chatter stays confined to small spaces and don’t become distractions for others.
  • Employee Psychology – When employees’ productivity levels are hurt, and they’re struggling to meet deadlines, open office spaces can seem nightmarish. When you’re stressed out, worried about specific details, the last thing you want is a co-worker asking about your day. Even if all of your co-workers are well-intentioned and only address you pleasantly, sometimes their nice words can feel triggering. Private thinking spaces are vital for productivity, and that’s what office partitionsprovide – places that block out all the chatter and help employees focus on the real issues.
  • Collaboration – When people think about open office spaces, they often think of rosy buildings full of collaborative employees who always have their backs. The reality is the total opposite. All humans are born with collaborative spirits. Just like other ‘spirits’ or emotions, collaboration can’t be forced – it has to come naturally. When open office spaces became a major trend in Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, they realized that squashing the physical barriers between workers isn’t enough to make them engage in conversations or collaboratively build ideas. Innovation and collaboration are natural forces. They can come from two employees working in separate cubicles or from workforces operating in open spaces. There’s no guarantee that your workforce will become more collaborative just because you’ve removed all literal barriers of communication.
  • The Tech Barriers – A fundamental flaw in the concept of open office spaces is that modern-day workers have another type of barrier around them – the tech barriers. Be it headphones or noise-cancelling earbuds; employees will go to various lengths to secure their ‘me time.’ Hence, not having office partitions could very well lead to a staff full of unapproachable workers who are busy with their tech devices all the time.

Glass Partitions – The Best Solution?

Instead of making an office space completely open or completely partitioned, companies should settle for a quasi-open quasi-closed office arrangement. Glass office partitions offer them to do so as these items eliminate the visual barriers between employees but still allow them to operate privately.

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