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Workplace Design & Build in Aberdeen


  • Writer's pictureMark Dellaquaglia

How to keep focus in an open plan office

Great open plan offices generate a buzz, leading to creativity, teamwork and collaboration. Get the design right at day one, and your staff will flourish.

The preference for modern companies is to be an inclusive, collaborating and communicating workforce

Over the past few decades open plan working has rapidly become standard practice, and it seems with every office plan we draw the ratio of offices to open plan desks becomes smaller and smaller. What has driven this change is the preference for modern companies to be inclusive, all-together, collaborating and communicating workforces - getting rid of that out of date and invisible 'them-and-us' barrier.

Productive: Flexible: Vibrant

If there was a "one-plan-fits-all" solution to office working, then our job would be repetitive and boring, possibly even redundant.

Creating an open plan office is not a case of removing all the walls - you'll simply end up with all your staff herded into a big room that looks and feels a call centre.

You want to provide a space that will result in a productive workforce, be flexible to adapt to fluctuations in staff numbers, and vibrant to inspire creativity.

Professional design solutions

Include spaces that can be used for privacy, such as sensitive phone calls or 1-2-1 interviewing, meeting spaces for small and large meetings. We've installed acoustic privacy pods for one, two, even 10 people, and an old fashioned telephone box.

Identify the 'loud' teams, the sales and customer service teams, and separate them from the 'quiet' teams, such as management, project teams, and accounts.

General sound deadening throughout the office area also drastically increases privacy. White-noise systems - a series of speakers emitting an undetectable background sound designed to mask general office noise. Your designer will be well educated in finding those solutions on your behalf.

Implement discreet internal divisions, whilst still remaining open plan, a skill perfected by the best space planners.

Saving space

We can't ignore the fact that many look to open plan offices to reduce their sq.ft. rental. After all, 1,000sq.ft. will give you around 9 typical single person offices compared to 20+ staff in an open plan arrangement, more that doubling your staff/sq.ft. ratio.

However it's well documented that, on average, every office building has a desk occupancy of around 60% at any one time.

Hot-desking, that is to say that staff aren't assigned a desk as their own, but find a vacant desk each time they arrive at the office and work from there, is particularly suitable and efficient for workers who spend a lot of time out of the office, or have the option to work from home.

Hot-deskers can spend an average of 18 minutes a day looking for a desk to work at.....that's up to 2 weeks a year

On the opposite argument, a recent study found that hot-deskers can spend an average of 18 minutes a day looking for a desk to work at (obviously in those very large offices!), and that 18 minutes a day can add up to 2 weeks of non-productive time every year.

What about hotel-desking? Similar to hot desking, nobody 'owns' their desk, however by hotelling the desks can be booked out for a week, a fortnight, or even a few months.

Within every company, whether it's the Managing Director or the admin team, there will be a different set of requirements suggesting who gets a desk, who takes an office, who sits next to who, even which team, project group or department sits where. Our focus on great workplace design leads you painlessly down the route to a successful project.

ABOUT Albyn Design & Build

Albyn Design & Build is a family run, design led, architectural & construction practice. Our in-house design team and sub-contracted trade workforce ensure low overheads and a cost effective solution to your workplace design and build requirements.

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