The open concept office is a trend that continues to evolve with new technology and space saving efficiency.  Open offices are great for team collaboration and day-to-day interaction, but sometimes workers feel as though their personal space gets invaded.  In nearly all open-plan office conversions, personal space, noise and privacy can become big issues.  Below are a few ways you can keep the collaboration going while still creating a feeling of personal space.

Oasis, Plants, Greenery, and Headphones in the Office

Create an oasis in your cubical farm
While the repetition and symmetry of wide open floors filled with rows of identical cubes can be pleasing to the eye of an architectural minimalist, the conformity can make individual workers “feel like a number.”  Breaking-up such cubical banks with an oasis, can alleviate this feeling by humanizing the space.

  • Collaborative “conversational oasis.”   Offer small lounges with sofas and chairs arranged for conversation.  Take advantage of natural nooks, alcoves or other natural dividers to achieve this.   If such lounges exist within a large open office area, make these spots easily recognizable with large office plants, eye-catching colors, banners or artwork.
  • Library or “quite oasis.”   Managers may also want to create a “library” area where employees can retreat for a completely quiet environment which can also double as a space for company information and resources. Detroit-based design firm, DPOP (http://dpopculture.com/) offers exceptional resources on this subject.

Add Plants and GreeneryDSC_1308
When it comes to humanizing a space, few office amenities are as appreciated and inexpensive as plants.  Live or artificial, plants are utilized to divide spaces, reduce noise, direct traffic patterns with visual markers.  Working with a professional botanical stylist can help guide the process by making recommendations for plants that will thrive in your light conditions or offer selections of high quality artificial plants that will achieve the same goals.  Some of the most popular selections of live plants can be found in Planterra’s Workplace Collection.

Allow Headphones
Most office managers don’t like the idea of their employee’s plugging in and checking out.  However, often when working on individual projects, it’s beneficial to allow team members to dive in and remove themselves from other distractions.  According to The HR Café, “surveys have shown employees feel more satisfied and productive while listening to music”( http://rapidlearninginstitute.com/hrcafe/listen-to-the-music/#sthash.0sm0XxxF.dpuf). Obviously this isn’t going to work for those in customer service, but if you’re considering an open concept, this is worth considering!

If you’re suddenly changing your office structure to an open concept, considering different ways to enhance the space is key!