While many in the tech industry are trending toward exciting new office buildings that feature open plans and plenty of shared space, a recent article from TechRepublic warns that employee needs must be a factor in the design. In particular, the article notes, private spaces, quiet places, and smaller meeting areas need to be included.
According to a 2014 study from The Center for the Built Environment, workers who have their own office tend to be happier and less likely to take sick days, the article stated. An additional new study from Oxford Economics and Plantronics, involving 1,200 global employees and executives, found that millennial employees in particular found it hard to concentrate on work in a noisy environment.
The results of these studies suggest that, although the trendy new open office plans encourage collaboration, balance is best when it comes to worker satisfaction. How to reach that balance? Providing a mix of open and closed spaces is a start. Additionally, the article suggests, the type of materials used in the design can also lend themselves to the creation of good working conditions. Hard surfaces can be replaced with more sound absorbent ones — such as carpet. Barriers between desks can be lowered to enable employees to see and interact with one another in a quieter fashion. Quiet spaces where phone calls can be taken or smaller meeting rooms can help.
While an office space isn’t going to meet every need of every individual employee, the article states, design should allow for flexibility in order to meet as many needs as possible and maximize productivity.
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