Things often need to bounce between extremes before settling down into some sort of reasonable, workable middle ground. The modern office is no different. For decades American offices were characterized by inflexibility; which is another way to say stagnation. Nothing, including your desk and the air ever moved and fluorescent light was king. About 10 years ago a slew of large companies went in the opposite direction and adopted the completely open office plan, only to hear company veterans grumble about having to share benches with new hires and everyone else grumbling about never having a moment to themselves. Neither extreme turned out to be great for company morale. Enter modular office walls.
Modular Office Walls and their Physical and Psychological Benefits
Modular office wall allows for the creation of flexible hybrid offices which combine open elements with enough private spaces to please everyone. As a result readily available statistics show that sick days are down while morale and productivity are up in offices that adopt modular walls when compared to other types of construction. There are a number of reasons why modular walls are so good at generating that ‘feel-good’ factor, including:
- More natural light: Few things have killed the morale of office staff over the years as much as toiling day after day without ever seeing the sun. Traditional floorplans typically had all the window space gobbled up by executive offices. To see the sun you had to have a reason to visit the Executive VP or Head of Marketing. Today’s modular wall systems incorporate plenty of glass so that the sunlight in the Executive VP’s office can be shared with the rest of the staff. Also, psychologists have shown that just being able to see out a window, even if it’s through an intervening glass wall, can increase morale and company loyalty.
- Better air circulation: If there’s one thing cubicles have always been great at it’s creating lots of little pockets of stagnant air. If you work in a cubicle you know chances are good that portions of that breath you took 20 minutes ago are still lingering somewhere in the corner of your cubicle space waiting to be breathed back in. Recycling stagnant air negatively affects energy levels, mood and overall health which in turn has a negative effect on morale. Modular walls promote proper air circulation and eliminate stagnant air.
- A sense of common purpose: Cubicles tended to create a sense that it was every man and woman for themselves. You checked in in the morning, put your nose to the grindstone, maybe had a few words with co-workers at lunch time and left at 5. This type of solitary confinement of the office population in the USA promoted individual, competing agendas. The modular hybrid office of today provides a very powerful sense that everyone is in the same boat rowing in the same direction.
- The promotion of cross-pollinization: Many who have spent years toiling in cubicle farms are accustomed to getting in hot water for leaving their cubicle to go talk to someone else, regardless of whether or not the topic was something that had direct bearing on the company and its best interests. Any time away from your assigned space was considered lost time; money you were in effect stealing from the company. Mixed plan offices with plenty of open, transparent spaces encourage interaction and recognize that oftentimes the best ideas come from one person approaching another person and saying “Got a minute?”
- The feeling of being trusted: Psychologists have shown hybrid offices where staff are able to move about to share ideas, check up on co-workers or just take their tablet to a quiet room to concentrate on a vexing task provides those staff members with the feeling that management trusts them. This sense of trust, of being treated like an adult who has the company’s best interests at heart, is invaluable in fostering company loyalty. Cubicle farms were notorious resentment generation machines while totally open plan offices send the message that staff are not trusted and so need to be constantly watched.
I-M-T is in the business of designing and building office solutions that power the next generation of business. Our modular office walls and modular wall systems help our clients transcend the morale issues that use to plague their enterprises. We create stimulating, healthy, vibrant and flexible office spaces that employees look forward to working in. It’s a far cry from even the recent past when ‘death by cubicle’ was how many office workers assessed their situation.
Don’t let another day go by without calling us and learning more about how I-M-T is helping companies large and small across the USA discover higher levels of productivity, greater innovation and increased staff morale through the fabrication of hybrid spaces using our modular office walls.