Offices are relics of the days of Mad Men. The 2010’s introduced the innovation era of a barrier-free world. The open plan is the answer to all our spatial, collaborative and millennial needs. The Office is over.
Maybe. Many companies are rapidly replacing private offices for more factory-esque floorplates. But “open plan” is one solution, not a blanket recommendation. True agile environments provide varied work points that support an assortment of tasks and benefits for the company. This curated mix may or may not include private offices.
A private office can be a functional tool for some firms and an outdated status symbol for others. There is a wide gap between perceived “essentials” and true requirements. Talk to your employees and find out what they need. Spend some time in “discovery” because, through strategic inquiry, we can learn what employees and organisations really require to perform their best work.
Organisations should realistically address their spatial realities. Literally, what fits? Will your people and their place benefit from more corridors of glass boxes, or from a new café outfitted with semi-private seating? And what will your IT capabilities allow? If employees remain glued to their PCs, then mobile working fantasies fall away. An iPad or two can go a long way.
So did ‘the office’ die? Smart designers don’t leap to any conclusions: they discover and design the best habitat for success.