Open Workspaces Were Dead Before COVID-19
Let’s be honest: After spending the last 10 years in open workspaces, the level of collaboration at your organization has not increased. In fact, there are more meetings than ever, and less one-on-one interactions than before. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact. In 2018, a group of Harvard professors conducted two empirical research studies where they wanted to find out if, in fact, removing “spatial boundaries” in the office would stimulate greater collaboration. In an article published by the Royal Society, these researchers explain and report shocking news:
- Open offices do not promote, but reduce human interaction
- Open space reduces face-to-face interaction by 70%
- After switching to an open office, emails increased by 57%
- After switching to an open office, instant messaging increased 67%
Now, after a global pandemic where physical distancing is a must, we need to reevaluate how we reimagine our workplace. I have recommended that my clients think “outside the open space” and let us help them be proactive in addressing their office reopening while introducing the necessary changes to increase safety and productivity.
In the early 2000’s, nobody was thinking about pandemics, “open workspaces” or “employee engagement”, but somehow the open office became the new trend and buzzword over time. In 2015, we recognized a gap in the design process that was not being addressed thus we created a proprietary Workplace Productivity Analysis Survey®, which includes input from all employees, asking about their productivity needs to get their job done in an efficient manner. Our extensive studies show that if the employees are heard and provided an environment that is conducive to their best working conditions, their productivity and employee engagement will increase by 25%. Testimonials from clients have confirmed that this formula will inevitably increase revenue if employees are happy and productive. That is why we do what we do, we guide our clients to better work environments based on employee feedback. Happy, Engaged Employees + Productive Employees = Increased Profit. We have always believed in engaging employees directly, so an “office relocation, renovation or redesign” must have a high level of “buy-in” and input from the staff to be successful.
Hear from one of our clients on how we helped their productivity in the workplace.
With the arrival of this terrible COVID-19 epidemic, I have noticed that many business leaders still don’t have time to reimagine their workspace, but they know it needs to happen. And yes, we may suggest some transparent dividers to reduce the spread of the virus, but we base our work on experience and research, as the one mentioned in this article. It’s not just about working six feet apart or staggered schedules, it’s about maximizing employees’ ability to produce in a safe and welcoming environment.
The world needs leaders to be courageous, proactive and actually lead. Don’t let your employees and clients think that you don’t have a plan, or that your reopening response is not well thought out. 61% of work from home requests are due to fear. Let us help you take care of that, so you can take care of your business and reinforce your reputation as a leader in your markets and your communities.