Offices play a fundamental role in how employees function. It dictates their functionality and, to some degree, how they treat and converse with one another. There are numerous offices, but the most popular and common ones are open plans and cubicles.
Cubicles are partitioned offices where each employee has a small space to work in. This type of office was once prevalent but has fallen out of favor in recent years because it can be pretty isolating. Employees often feel stuck in their little world and can’t easily communicate with their coworkers.
An open plan is an office where all employees work in one big room without any partitions between them. This type of office has become more prevalent in recent years because it allows for more collaboration between employees. This is relatively common in countries like Japan.
The open-plan office has been getting all the rage among these two during the past few years. But is it worth your time? First, let’s talk about open-plan offices and how they function.
The Superiority Complex
Let’s be honest here, offices can play a particular dynamic among supervisors and their subordinates. This is where the superiority complex plays in. Superiority complex is best defined as “a defense mechanism characterized by feelings of superiority, self-importance, and entitlement.” This is often displayed through supervisors who act aloof and unapproachable in the workplace. They feel that their position in the company entitles them to a certain level of respect, and they often look down on those who are below them.
This is where open-plan offices can get tricky. Because there are no barriers between employees, it can be challenging to maintain a sense of hierarchy. This can lead to some supervisors feeling uncomfortable or inferior in an open-plan office.
On the other hand, some employees may feel more comfortable and empowered in an open-plan office. They may feel like they have more control over their surroundings and can communicate more efficiently with their coworkers.
The superiority complex doesn’t play a considerable role in open-plan offices because it breaks down barriers and changes the norm. For example, supervisors sit next to their subordinates in some open-plan offices, making them feel like they are at the same level.
Sense of Responsibility
Open offices are far more transparent than cubicle offices. This can lead to employees feeling a sense of responsibility to their coworkers. They can see everything that is going on around them and are often more likely to pitch in and help when needed.
In cubicle offices, it’s easy for employees to become isolated from their coworkers. This can lead to a lack of teamwork and collaboration. In open-plan offices, employees constantly interact with one another and work together towards a common goal.
Transparency also breeds trust. Employees can see what their coworkers are working on and how they are contributing to the company. This can lead to a stronger sense of trust between coworkers and a better overall work environment.
Interestingly enough, open offices don’t breed open communication directly out of the bat. A study from Harvard Business Review has found that open offices decrease face-to-face interaction by a staggering 70%. This is because employees can still choose not to interact even if they see each other. But this can also be because of varying reasons such as the office design and the proximity of employees.
Office design plays a massive role in the way employees can communicate with one another. There are ways you can stimulate conversations in your office without your employees knowing about it. For example, getting an interior painting service to paint your walls green can get more employees to communicate with one another. Why is that? Well, green is usually associated with teamwork and communication, and this can lead to an unconscious stimulation of these behaviors.
Proximity of Employees
The proximity of employees also plays a huge role in an open-plan office. If employees are seated too close to each other, they may feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed. If they are seated too far apart, they may not be able to communicate with one another easily.
Office layout can play a huge role in the way employees communicate with one another. There are a number of different office layouts that you can choose from, and each one has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. You need to find the right layout for your company and your employees.
Open-plan offices have been around for years, but there is still no definite answer to whether they are better or worse than cubicle offices. It depends on the individual office and the type of employees. However, open-plan offices do have several benefits that cubicle offices don’t have, such as breeding transparency and trust among employees and better creativity among employees. If you want these benefits, it might be wise to now switch to an open plan office.