Cubicles have been a staple in office organization and interior design for some time. That being said, like many other things in life, just because it has always been done a certain way in no way means that things should continue in that fashion. Many studies have been done on the issue, as more and more offices are abandoning their modular format and are switching to more open office space plans.
This kind of shift in office format leads to some pretty interesting benefits for the office budget, employee morale, overall productivity, and level of collaboration. In the past, this kind of open plan was not feasible, as workers were tied to their desks and their machines, and they needed a space of their own. The new technologies emerging mean many employees do a great deal of their work from places other than their desk. The same tech tools are allowing for more group work and collaboration as well.
Even if you have a hard time breaking away from tradition, the fact that nixing the cubicle walls could save your office a lot of money should be a good motivator to consider. The boon to your budget will take place in the following ways when the cubicles are gone:
- Workers will be more accountable for how they spend their time. It will be a lot harder for them to get away with chatting on social media and playing Solitaire when they are no longer hidden behind the traditional partitions.
- Employees can use smaller spaces: Technology is to the point where a simple monitor is all the equipment that each employee really needs. Printers, towers, and other such supplies are more often than not utilized via a network. This means you can fit more people in a smaller space.
- Increases the telecommuting opportunities: Telecommuting has been shown over and over to be less expensive for the employer. As Document Management Software (DMS) platforms are allowing for virtual access and input to important files from any location, the sectioned-off cubicles are becoming less and less needed.
Cubicles are dark and small spaces that can make a worker feel trapped and alone. Countless jokes and comic strips have been made about the depression that sets in every Monday when employees return to their stations behind the cubicle walls.
As you allow these walls to come down, you will see a huge improvement in the way people work and feel. Google was the first company to play with this concept, and as the success of the Google business monster has exploded over the years, it would make sense for any other company hoping to follow in their success footsteps to take this approach as well.
Dr. John Sullivan from ERE Media states, “For years HR and managers have tried to increase innovation using primarily hit-or-miss approaches. But Google has taken a more scientific approach where it has discovered that innovation is increased only after taking proactive steps to increase discovery (learning), collaboration (working with people from other disciplines) and fun (yes, fun in the workplace).”
Having an open space in the workplace will create a stronger sense of camaraderie. The social atmosphere in your office is not something that will kill productivity, but rather something that will offer more unity and excitement to the work process. Workers who feel included and who enjoy their time in the office will be more loyal, honest, and motivated to work hard.
As your employees are able to talk openly, they will begin sharing ideas, tips, and important messages without the need to walk to a specific office space or cubicle. This means that people will begin working better without interrupting their work flow.
Each extra interaction that takes place inside a cubicle will be far more prolonged than the open meetings had without the cubicle walls in the way. Once these special barriers are taken down, a lot more work will be completed in a much shorter amount of time, and that can only be good for your company.
Collaboration and Communication
Annie Baxter with Marketplace states, “Collaboration is where the action is today. Cubicle walls are coming down so workers can communicate more easily.” The ability to see other workers without having to crane over and around cubicle walls can really aid with this increased communication.
The freedom of vision is obviously amplified when coupled with the ability to better communicate and collaborate with the use of tech platforms offered by Document Management Software programs. These programs offer the chance for workflow to go faster with more people being involved at every step.
As workers are able to make changes, send suggestions, and work out good plans, the teamwork in the space will increase. Collaboration has always been the key to business success, hence the old adage about two heads being better than one. Make collaboration and communication easier by eliminating the physical visual barriers and opening up the lines of virtual communication.