If you look at statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding how Americans between the ages of 25-54 spend their time on an average workday, you’ll learn that most spend about 9 hours a day working, and less than 8 hours a day sleeping. No surprise there, right? The numbers speak for themselves – the vast majority of working Americans will spend a lot of time at the office throughout the course of their career.
The Evolution of Office Design
There’s no doubt that office designs have changed over the years. Rows of office hallways from the 1940s morphed into rings of offices centered around a secretary and open desk spaces in the 1950s. By the time the 1970s rolled around, the infamous cubicle had taken on a life of its own. Fun fact – the brainchild of the cubicle is considered to be Robert Propst, who was hired by the Herman Miller Company in 1958 to create new designs and help expand their furniture business. A few years later, Propst introduced the “Action Office” prototype – the forerunner to the cubicle. The rest is history.
Fast forward to 2016…what do many of today’s office spaces look like? According to the Washington Post and the International Facility Management Association, about 70% of U.S. offices have low or no partitions, which means more companies are becoming cubicle-free and opting for open office space.
Office Space Today
Fast forward to 2016…what do many of today’s office spaces look like? According to the Washington Post and the International Facility Management Association, about 70% of U.S. offices have low or no partitions, which means more companies are becoming cubicle-free and opting for open office space. The premise behind this design trend is that it fosters more personal interactions between employees, which drives collaboration and ultimately a more successful company.
So despite its popularity and all the benefits that come with it, there will certainly be times when employees may desire a quieter and more private work environment. Here are some popular ways that employees make the most of an open office space when they’re looking to catch some time away from the hustle and bustle:
Just Say No. When your office space lacks four walls and a door, chances are good you’ll get interrupted more often by your co-workers. If a co-worker tries to start a conversation with you at a less-than-ideal time, just say no. Ask him to send an email instead, or tell him that you’ll circle back as soon as you’ve finished up whatever you’re working on. Don’t be afraid to turn people away in order to keep your productivity flowing.
Invest in Headphones. Everything quiets down when you’re sporting headphones! Invest in a quality pair of noise-reducing headphones and use them when you really need to zone out the work activity happening around you.
Take It Outside. If you’re finding it tough to concentrate inside, then head outside for a quick walk or drive to clear your head. Or take your work, when you can, outdoors – find a bench or picnic table where you can settle in and get some things crossed off your to-do list.
Book a Private Meeting Room. Most companies with an open office space design still have meeting rooms or collaboration zones that offer employees more privacy. Take advantage of these quieter spaces when you need to get some serious, uninterrupted work done.
What do you think the office spaces of the future will be like? Share your predictions with us.