The modern office has gone through several distinct phases during the past century:
- The monastery phase: This phase was big during the early 20th century and was still popular right up through the 1960s. Characteristics included lots of heavy wood framing, opaque walls, furniture that never moved and windows tucked away where few could find them.
- The cubicle phase: Starting in the 70s the cloister gave way to the cubicle farm as businesses looked for ways to cram as many staff members as possible into their limited space while still giving everyone their own little fiefdom. While you’ll still find cubicles out there their numbers are dwindling.
- The open office phase: The open office resembles the cafeteria at the local high school; one huge space with lots of bench seating. While this concept was big for a while after the turn of the 21st century most enlightened businesses today have opted for the hybrid office created using office partitions from I-M-T.
In this post we’ll look at why the hybrid/mixed space has triumphed over the open office space in most cities in the USA.
Why Office Partitions Have Won the Day
Businesses can’t be blamed for trying to squeeze as much productivity as possible out of their extremely expenses office spaces but expecting highly skilled professionals to embrace the bench was a bit much. Many simply moved on to companies that could provide them an environment better suited to their talents and temperament. In most cases those are environments created using movable office partitions. But just what is it that makes an office created with movable partition walls so much more inviting and productive than the cafeteria-style office?
- The right space for the right job: There are times when it doesn’t matter what the person next to you is doing and there are times when it does. Different tasks require different levels of concentration and that’s the first area where the open office fails. When you design your office using partition walls from I-M-T you can create open spaces that promote collaboration and closed spaces where people can gather and brainstorm or just retreat by themselves to get their head around a problem.
- Noise control: When it comes to noise the open office is often compared to an airport terminal or the aforementioned high school cafeteria. Breaking down walls may seem like a wonderfully egalitarian concept but removing walls also removes the only thing that creates quiet spaces in a crowded office. With office partitions from I-M-T businesses across the USA can shape their workspaces in a way that mitigates noise pollution effectively without having to recreate the monastery style office of old.
- Privacy when you need it: One of the biggest complaints workers have when it comes to the open office is that they feel as though they’re constantly under the magnifying glass. This feeling of ‘nowhere to hide’ can be particularly grating on people who’ve been valuable employees for years and feel they’ve earned a bit of privacy. Creating private spaces where people can think or simply take a break from the fishbowl can go a long way toward improving staff morale which is key to productivity.
- Adaptability: With an open office environment important functions, meetings and presentations often have to be hosted off site so as not to disrupt operations. In an office created using movable office partitions you can create a space for a client get-together or a company function overnight using your regular maintenance staff by combining existing spaces or by simply carving a space out of the office’s open area. When the function is over it’s a snap to return your space to its original configuration. You save time, hassles and money.
- Respect: Professionals are not robots. They’re human beings who worked long and hard to secure their positions. While there are still those who will defend the open office the fact remains that most working professionals hate them. They feel they’re simply not being afforded the respect they deserve by being dumped into a single common space under the boss’ ever-watchful eye. Workers who feel disrespected are not going to be particularly loyal or productive. Partition walls can solve this problem by allowing you to divide up the space into a combination of public and private areas that will let everyone find a comfort zone.
Office partitions from I-M-T are the 21st century solution to the age old problem of getting the most out of the space you have. Your staff will be more motivated, more loyal and more productive if you create a hybrid, mixed office rather than opting for one big warehouse space for them to work in. Contact I-M-T for more information about the many virtues of office partition walls and set your company on a path to greater prosperity.