Re-envisioning The Workplace – Debating Open Office Concepts

Rosenblum Companies Office
The Rosenblum Companies’ new “Innovation Lab.”

Office space is changing because the way we work is changing.  Thanks in large part to technologies like wireless broadband (WiFi, 4G cellular), software in the “cloud,” and “virtual presence” (like video conferencing), your home, the corner coffee shop, even the village square all become viable “offices.”  As a result the next generation of office space is trending away from cube farms and closed-door offices to places where people can easily congregate and cooperate, such as open office concepts.

The Rosenblum Companies’ corporate headquarters at our Great Oaks Office Park has been transformed into a showroom for the integrated collaborative space pioneered by Silicon Valley firms, but increasingly adopted by companies of all types.  Features of our “Innovation Lab” open office concept incorporates bright, colorful finishes, exposed ceilings and ample natural light throughout, prominent eat-in kitchen, lounge area, stand-up work areas and a “huddle” room.

Open kitchen in Rosenblum Offices is a popular space to meet.
Open kitchen in Rosenblum Offices is a popular space to meet.

Just how open an office should be, however, remains the subject of debate.  In their recent Fast Company article, “Two Cube Dwellers Argue Over Open Offices,” editors Jason Feifer and Anjali Mullany face off over the pros and cons of working in an open space.

“I think the success of an open office depends in large part on what kind of work one does. Though we are both editors, we do different jobs. It would not make sense to assume that the same office layout is going to work just as well for both of us,” points out Anjali Mullany.”

Ultimately, as Feifer and Mullany conclude, open office concepts have great potential, but there is no “one size fits all” design. Every business has specific needs that drive office space design. Depending on how much private versus shared time you need on a daily basis, an open office can enhance creativity or lead to constant distraction.  Our Innovation Lab acknowledges such practicalities albeit with modern twists: ergonomic furniture for long days in front of a computer; a “corner office” and more traditional large conference room separated from the main work space; even the huddle room doubles as an individual privacy space for sensitive phone calls.

More traditional conference room, but with glass panels and no whiteboard necessary.
Glass panels connect the more traditional conference room to the main office space…and no whiteboard necessary.

The real challenge is determining just what forms meet your particular business’s functions – and budget – so workflow planning is key.  To assist The Rosenblum Companies’ clients in taking advantage of these new open office concepts, we partnered with Accent Furniture, an expert in open office design, space planning and systems furniture.

The good news is you don’t have to break the bank evolving your office from a place staff HAS to be to into one where they WANT to be, resulting in increased communication, productivity and satisfaction.

To read the Fast Company article in its entirety, click here.