Life in an open office floor plan

Published April 16, 2015 2:15 pm by LoSasso
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Throughout my creative career, I’ve had the great fortune of holding a LOT of character-building jobs. Right out of college, I got my feet wet at a small pre-press office, where my only two colleagues were also named Steve. That made for some confused incoming callers. My next job was at a prominent ad agency downtown—where, over the course of 9 years, I worked in a number of environments. From Office Space-like cubicles to desks with 30th-floor views, I experienced it all. For a short time, a colleague and I even had an office … WITH A DOOR! Now that was something, albeit short-lived. When I left agency life for a brief stint teaching high school, my workspace was a classroom—where I was rarely ever alone. Finally, I landed back in the agency world—here at LoSasso.

Despite widely varying climates and job descriptions, there’s a common thread to my career experiences: the open office floor plan. It’s something with which I have a love/hate relationship; but I’ve come to accept it, and even remain productive while chaos ensues around me (thank you headphones and Spotify!) But depending on whom you ask, the open floor plan is either a blessing or a concentration-killer.

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LoSasso takes the concept of the open floor plan to the next level. In fact, I couldn’t use the bathroom down in the bowels (pun intended) of our basement for the first few weeks because of its proximity to people’s shared desk space. And what about taking a personal phone call? The struggle to find a private space here is REAL. Forget about having a bad day and discreetly letting your emotions get the best of you … here, you’re crying in front of everyone. Those, boys and girls, are just some of the downfalls of an open floor plan. But it’s not all bad.

 

For one, open floor plans make it easier for employees to interact with each other on a regular basis. The intermingling not only generates camaraderie among personnel, it also enhances the flow of information and overall teamwork. Interactions in an open floor plan generally occur more frequently and are informal than in a closed environment—which can lead to business innovation and advancement. Businesses may also enjoy direct economic benefits: improved flow of air and light can lead to reduced heating/cooling and electricity expenses. Finally, an open floor plan can provide greater flexibility to accommodate evolving personnel needs.

So, with a good pair of headphones, you, too, can tune out the violent throat-clearer. The sub-conscious moaner. The loud water-gulper. The bathroom destroyer/air-freshener abuser. And the dude who listens to terrible country music ALL DAY LONG. If you can live through all that, rest assured, you will survive in an open office.