Brisbane Office Fitout Firm: Boost Productivity in Open-Plan Offices

People spend most of their adult lives at work, so office design is crucial not just in maintaining employees’ well-being but in improving their productivity as well. In recent years, companies have adapted the so-called “open-plan” layout to achieve these two goals, but as Alyesha Anderson of reports, this scheme has some significant drawbacks:

Mind Your Manners

Two words strike fear into the heart of any employee: “open plan”.

Smelly lunches, annoying ringtones, messy colleagues, loud conversations about last night’s TV shows – an open-plan office can seem like one hurdle after another for a worker trying to focus.

A study by the University of Queensland found open-plan offices led to high levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure and high staff turnover.

Yet nine out of 10 Australian offices now embrace the set-up, according to a University of Sydney study.

Organisational psychologist Graeme Ditchburn said open-plan was popular because it was cheaper to run.

There was also a philosophy that it broke down office hierarchies.

“In addition to the reduction in the overheads associated with managing or leasing office space, it’s reasonable to suggest that open-plan environments flatten hierarchical cultures in the workplace facilitating equity and greater collaboration,” he said.

Chances are you, too, have an open-plan layout and are also dealing with the downsides that come with it. Fortunately, Urban Group, a Brisbane office fitout company, says there are ways to improve your current setup to boost employee satisfaction and productivity:

Allow Mobility

The truth is, open-plan offices favor extroverts. After all, it encourages people to collaborate with everyone else, often to the detriment of the ‘Silent Sam’ or ‘Timid Tina’ of your office. This is where allowing workers some freedom of mobility can prove useful.

When an introverted worker needs to get away from all the chatter to do some problem solving, they can move their work to another area. Then, when they’re ready to share their ideas, they can simply move back to their old area and collaborate with colleagues again.

Stagger Workstations

In open-plan offices, workstations are set up on long tables without any partitions between them. To increase privacy, stagger workstations so that when an employee looks up from their computer screen, they won’t be staring straight into their co-worker’s face.

Provide a Sanctuary

Also, make sure that you have a private space such as a conference room where people can retreat to when they need to really concentrate or finish an important task. Make it clear that they are free to use these areas so they can take full advantage of them.

To learn more about improving open-plan offices, contact the trusted company that provides office fitouts in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

(Source: Mind your manners: the pain of working in an open-plan office,, June 15, 2014)