Open offices aren’t for everyone

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Thank you for featuring Liz Malatestinic’s article, “Open work spaces: Does your company fit?” in your March 23 issue. Since I’m passionate about optimizing office spaces to best support employees, Malatestinic’s perspective struck a chord.

As Malatestinic noted, “don’t simply jump on the bandwagon of the latest trend without doing your research.” The office environment should be based on what employees need to work effectively. As such, it can contribute to improved engagement, collaboration, productivity, innovation, profit, and talent attraction and retention.

If business leaders are considering changing their companies’ office environments, it’s helpful to first undergo an analysis of employees’ preferences and working styles and understand what helps them be more productive. For teams that collaborate throughout the day, an open office makes more sense than teams that require minimal distractions or have confidential conversations throughout the day. By assessing employees’ needs for private and collaborative areas, businesses can provide their teams with the appropriate mix of spaces.

If an organization has already moved to an open office and employees are struggling with distractions, sound masking strategies or reconfigurations can help improve privacy and focus. Details can make a big difference.

I appreciate Malatestinic highlighting the fact that open work spaces aren’t for everyone. Business leaders shouldn’t jump to conclusions but let office design professionals guide them to the appropriate solution. The office is where most of us spend a great portion of our lives, so getting it right is of utmost importance.

Melissa St. John
CEO and Owner, Relocation Strategies

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