If your business requires open communication between staff, then your physical environment must respond to their communication needs. We work in teams on the design of all of our architectural projects. There may be five or more architects working on one project. It is extremely important that they can easily communicate with each other, and keep in touch with other project teams.
Three years ago, we moved from an individual cubicle environment with five-foot partitions to an open environment with fewer lower partitions. We designed three offices, two for accounting and one for the managing partner. The remaining staff (70) including the partners are in open cubicles. Before we moved, we surveyed our staff to see if they would be receptive to the change. The younger staff embraced the change but older staff were skeptical. Now that we are in the new environment for three years this is what they say about the change.
“It allows for the opportunity to see what others in the office are working on. It is very easy to get consumed with your own studio, but the open office environment helps me to stay in tune with the rest of the studios and there designs.” Michael
“An open office environment encourages frequent communication between project team members, and creates a culture of continuous improvement.” Anthony
“Our open office environment allows our younger staff to listen to conversations from upper level staff and provides them real on-the-job-training.” Karen
We created huddle rooms for private conversations and larger conference rooms for group and client meetings. Our café, once called the lunchroom, is in the middle of the office and open to the staff. This also encourages communication between teams that are not working together.
When we show clients our office, they love it. They can see firsthand the interaction between our staff and can envision their own staff in the new environment. Improved communication and lesser square feet per staff member also improves the bottom line.
We are proud to say we eat our own cooking…and our clients love it!