Did anybody really like the open-plan office?

A Marmite scenario for many workers is the ‘Open Plan Office.’ Some people like the open, airy feeling of being able to see their colleagues across the room, with possibly even a distant window in view showing the world outside. Others find the noise from multiple workers typing and talking - especially when speaking loudly during phone conversations - to be distracting. Couple this with the smell from a ‘desk neighbour's repulsive fast food lunch, and you quickly start to crave your own office space. Either way, Frank Taylor’s methodology from the late 19th century of being able to oversee workers from his desk and thus manage their productivity has come back to haunt employers who use OPO layouts across the globe.

The post-COVID office

‘Taylorism’ as it was called spread in popularity during the 20th century and helped pave the way for the popularity of the open-plan office layout. However, the post-COVID era may mean that many employers and office managers need to reconfigure the design of their workplace furniture to keep their colleagues safe. Companies with office layouts featuring some element of private cubicles or individual offices will no doubt find it far easier to function as a business using social distancing than those with just open-plan designs. Many employers will now be looking at their office designs and layouts, wondering how they are going to fit their colleagues back into the workplace while adhering to social distancing rules, yet with the current quantity of furniture in their office. Desks, chairs and filing cabinets may all need to be temporarily put into storage to create more space within the office. We may even find that the ‘Post-COVID 19 office' is here to stay. With the threat of another coronavirus outbreak possible, employers may find that less office furniture and more space for workers is the safest option to future-proof their business.

Office design trends in 2019 were heading towards a workplace environment of shared-area workspaces. ‘Flexible workspaces’ and ‘co-working’ were the buzzwords. A few tall chairs around a high table. Perhaps a private area with a sofa and coffee table with plants for informal meetings. A few desks that belonged to nobody in particular – you need a desk? Sit down and use one. How quickly things changed: Hot-desking has literally become a dirty phrase overnight.

Lok’nStore can offer a number of storage solutions that can help you create more office space for your business. Many of our storage centres also have office space to rent. Feel free to contact us for a no-obligation chat.

KC