The phenomenon of open space has perhaps become a classic in today's work environment. On the one hand, it offers flexibility, better communication, but also cost savings for the company. On the other hand, though, employees may complain about noise, lack of concentration, and privacy. Sooner or later, everyone is likely to encounter some form of this modern office. So what to prepare for if you are starting a new job with open space? What are the specific arguments for and against? And how to work for better conditions?
It is a system of arranging a large number of desks in one large room so employees do not each sit in one of their smaller offices, but share an open space with other colleagues. At least partitions or plants for optical separation are sometimes placed between the tables. It was the initial attempts at open space that resembled some kind of cells or boxes that were arranged in rows right next to each other.
In large cities with many commercial properties, open space is a common phenomenon. Examples of professions working in giant offices of glazed office buildings or revitalized industrial buildings include journalists, salesmen, IT, or call center workers. An interesting type of commercial buildings is coworking centers. It is a form of renting an office, in this case, a shared one, in which anyone can come to work. It is suitable, for example, for so-called freelancers, ie „freelance“ workers.
Large open offices are a part of modern times, with both positive and negative impacts. A new term has even entered medical dictionaries – SOS (Syndrome of Open Space). Some experts consider it one of the new diseases of civilization. Manifestations of the syndrome include headache, tinnitus, fatigue, dizziness, indigestion, or high blood pressure. In some patients, it leads to anxiety and depression.
According to some studies, open space causes stress and reduces work productivity. After all, there is always something going on around you, coworkers are walking through, another luncheon and others from colleagues can bother you with frequently asked questions or talking. And if the room has poorly designed acoustics, staying at work can become hell in a constantly humming hive of sounds and noises. In an open space, you may also feel that someone is constantly watching and controlling you.
Do you long for a luxury office, but work in a shared space? There are still a lot of ways to adapt the environment to your ideas. The basis, however, is that your company should be located in a quality building with a healthy indoor environment. Thanks to sophisticated solutions, modern materials, and technologies, such will allow you to work even in open space in the most suitable place. And if you are not lucky or still have some problems, it is advisable to talk to the management about how you feel and solve any problems. Maybe you can try to arrange partly working from home. You can also group tables differently after consulting with colleagues. For example, try to make smaller parts of one large space and give everyone more privacy.
Communication with colleagues is also important. Tell them that, for example, you don't want to be disturbed at the moment. If you are bothered by usual office buzz and noise, invest in good soundproof headphones. Next, discuss the optimal temperature to suit everyone. And make sure there is a sufficient supply of fresh air and suitable lighting.
In terms of positive influence, this common space brings together and strengthens the collective. Because you sit with your colleagues and work all day, you have a better chance of getting to know them. Extroverts can even enjoy the open space and the constant opportunity for attention and contact with people. It's also easier to deal with sudden work matters with someone sitting at your fingertips. So if you work in a team, a quick exchange of information is a valued benefit.
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