The Open Plan area within an office space is an essential element of an Agile Working environment.
When we talk about open-plan office space we mean the areas of an office that are populated by individual workstations only. In an Agile Office Design it is the team working area – the main hub for idea generation and working alongside your team.
For most people, however, it means the archetypical traditional office with rows of desks and very little to break up the monotony and density of the working space. Understandably the open-plan office regularly has (and does) come under fire for being a soul-destroying and mind-numbing work environment. However, when used carefully as part of a good agile workspace design, the open-plan space becomes a key and productive part of the office.
Facebook has recently opened what is reputed to be the largest open plan office design in the world. This gargantuan office houses 2,800 staff in one room measuring over a quarter of a mile long. Known as “The Hackers Cave”, the new Facebook headquarters building in Silicon Valley, California has a floor area of over 434,000 square feet. The office complex is spread across 22 acres, the building boasts tunnels to Facebook’s current campus, and even a rooftop park filled with cafes and barbecue areas.
If open-plan spaces are used in isolation then there are a number of disadvantages for the business and the workers using them.
The fact is that an open plan office design is not an ideal environment for staff to be able to concentrate or have a requirement for privacy. This is why you need the additional 4 elements of agile working to create the perfect formula for your workplace.