5 exciting offices in Acton - London
Acton is a popular residential area of West London that sits in the London borough of Ealing.
Appropriate planning can mitigate problems and create a collaborative space that works for everyone
Noise. Lack of privacy. No sense of personal space. No ability to focus. Funny smells. Messy colleagues and their trinkets. Colleagues with quirky tendencies. Trending viral videos. Headphones and Slack. Open-plan offices have been getting a bad rap these days, as public opinion and sensationalised news stories emphasise negative aspects of the design. The debate over the open office trend is being discussed in informational articles like this from The Washington Post and examined throughin-depth research studies. But why did this trend become so popular if it is so problematic?
A recent Inc.com article actually turns the tables on the assumed instigators of this trend – the architects and interior designers that promote wide open, ‘collaborative’ spaces – and reports that even design professionals experience dissatisfaction with the open-plan office concept.
Such pieces focus on the extremes of any idea, because the extremes attract the most attention. So, before we overcorrect and go back to planning a series of private 225-square-foot offices lining a lonely circuitous corridor, perhaps it’s fair to identify why open-plan office concepts were developed in the first place. We’ll also look at the current issues with open-plan office concepts, and how they can be mitigated through appropriate planning.
The need for space: In the past, conventional wisdom in traditional office space planning called for an area ratio per employee of 250 to 275 square feet per person. Concerns over the cost of real estate had shrunk that ratio in the recent past to under 150 square feet per person. Today, with concerns over density and the desire for wide-open, ‘all hands’ areas, the area ratio per person is trending back up.
Construction costs: There is a significantly higher cost in building the additional walls, doors, lighting and temperature controls that individual offices require.
The need for collaboration: Since work modes have evolved, being in the office is often not required to complete work. Instead, the office has become a place for exchanging ideas, absorbing information, and to serve as a reminder of a company’s culture and collective goals.
As construction costs continue to rise, remote working becomes more of an alternative, causing an even greater barrier to communication and likelihood of social isolation. This presents an even greater case for collaborative office space. What remains clear is the need for environments in office spaces that bring people together, not further apart.