The modern company archetype includes a quality where it just loves to tout itself as the most progressive place in the world. And why wouldn’t they love to display themselves as such? Being progressive allows all kinds of people: traders, programmers, marketers, creatives to be attracted to the company. And usually, the most progressive values these guys display involve the way they organize their workspace. Usually, the shared workspace, or a very large room with a bunch of tables shared by all the workers, is the go to. And despite the origin of the design involved a lot of thinking about the people being more productive in a situation like this, today, we see a bit of a backlash against the choice design. But why? Is there something wrong?
The origin and the positives
The open space design was developed in the US in the early ages of the office workroom. The original design was a noble attempt at liberating the everyday worker from the four walls of a tiny office. And the original design did its job very well! Well, the original design goes back to the 1700s, but that not something we want to talk about. What we do want to talk about, or who is Edgar Lloyd Wright This man designed a legendary open office space in the 1930s that would go on to inspire many offices throughout the world.
But the thing is, this design was outstanding. It was something that would be terribly hard to replicate. And many people wanted to, after all, this open space office inspired an increase in productivity in the workforce, and many people didn’t even want to go home. The tall ceiling with the natural light flooding in from it, the tall pillars and the wide spaces between desks allowed people to feel comfortable and free. The office we are talking about is the one in Wisconsin, for the headquarters of SC Johnson. But that one is the “perfect” office space (even though it had some issues of its own), and if you look at it, you will realize it is quite different from what many professionals have to deal with today.
Today’s trend and issues
Today, you will notice that many young and hip companies are going for the open office space. The cubicle experience of the previous decades has proven to the young that they don’t want something like that. What they want is a free space to be able to enjoy the space of a large room, have comfort and a breathing room. Except, many of the workers will also be complaining about the space they are sitting in. More and more people are even discussing how it might be time to move on from this “hellish” type of workspace.
The thing is, the modern office space is very different from the ideals that it tries to pursue. The workers are placed in tightly in the office space so that they don’t really have much space that is really open. All they have is a person five feet away from them, annoyed that they cannot browse the internet for some youtube cat videos on their break without being judged by other people for it. The modern open office has resulted in less workplace satisfaction and less productivity. The only reason for this being the fact that they are simply bad replicas of what used to be a great idea.
So how do we go about solving this problem? We simply design open workspaces the way they should be. Give the workers space that they can actually call theirs. Give them tables and chairs that they can actually enjoy using. Give them naturally lit environments that have tall ceilings, in order to allow them to feel good and be productive.