Open offices were supposed to revolutionize the workspace by offering additional space for more workers with an aim to enhance collaboration and breathability from the cramped cube-farms of the working past. But in the midst of the global coronavirus crisis, it can be a breeding ground for your workers by essentially allowing the disease to spread rapidly.
Think about it. The modern workplace might have assigned desks, but workers in open offices are encouraged to roam freely wherever their creativity can take off. In cases when someone has a cold, they may stay seated at their desk before they go someplace else for a change of scenery, to the lunching area where they eat, or even to a couch. Then someone else sits there and moves into a conference room and then to the bathroom and… you see the point.
The Wall Street Journal crunched the numbers and found that the average office space per seat in North America declined by more than 14% between 2018 and 2019 to 195.6 square feet, citing data provided by brokerage firm JLL’s Occupancy Benchmarking Report.
What does that mean? Employees are sitting closer to each other than ever before while open offices encourage workers to branch out and find comfort from any place in the office. There are certainly arguments for how an open office plan can make workers feel more included and less stressed, but it’s open offices are certainly a double-edged sword.
Often open offices include perks for betting work-life such as gaming areas or pets in the office, but those benefits often cause nearly all employees to feel distracted by their co-workers, and now, your open office design has employees worked about their health.