An open plan office is designed with staff communication and interaction in mind, but is it possible that a cubicle-free workplace might actually have the opposite effect on your marketing staff? Removing the physical walls between employees may seem like an obvious way to encourage them to talk to each other and collaborate, but it can also lead to decreased privacy, lack of concentration, and higher levels of irritation between co-workers.
The modern workplace is evolving away from private offices to collaborative spaces. Rather than a staff canteen, and a set lunch hour, employees are generally expected to eat outside the office, at their desks, or in communal areas, which are often ill equipped or unappealing. This may make it more difficult for marketing employees to form positive relationships with each other – and meaningful interaction with co-workers can lead to better team cohesion and reduced stress levels among your team.
Social isolation and conflict among marketing employees can lead to higher levels of workplace stress and reduced productivity, which can in turn affect your business. Although there are many benefits to open plan offices, particularly their cost effectiveness, if you have an open plan office, it may be well worth investing in good communal facilities, and working out ways you can help reduce noise levels so employees are less distracted. Some innovative businesses are introducing offices with multiple options for employees, including private offices, communal workspaces, and alcoves or booths for quiet conversation and extra privacy.
In spite of the downsides, there are some advantages to an open plan arrangement, particularly in a communication-based occupation such as marketing. Open plan offices allow for the free exchange of ideas, not just within a single team, but also between different departments. If, like many businesses, you have a marketing team and a sales team, having them together in close proximity may help facilitate discussion and keep them more closely aligned.
Having happy, healthy employees is essential for your business. If the layout of your workplace is affecting your marketing team, you may find that minimising distractions and noise levels helps to reduce the negative aspects of an open plan office, while providing spaces for employees to interact on an interpersonal level, such as vending machines, common areas and tables, can help employees feel relaxed and facilitate positive relationships.