Open offices but with flexible designs. A new focus.


Open offices but with flexible designs. A new focus.

The open office concept originated in Germany and slowly started crossing borders until it arrived to the US where revolutionary companies from Silicon Valley adapted the idea. The main purpose of these companies was to brake with the traditional composition of walls creating an open space for all their workers. In this sense, technological companies changed space and work methodologies to more efficient ones. Nowadays, multidisciplinary teams and the current situation have brought to life this concept again, but the present working conditions demand a new focus. In this article, we will guide you with everything you need to know:

Advantages and disadvantages of open offices

Deleting architectonic borders that were traditionally in offices has a direct repercussion on efficiency and humans. On one hand, it reduces the carbon footprint in an office while taking advantage of the space and receiving more natural light. On the other hand, all workers are in the same space improving communication and cooperation between colleagues while stimulating creativity.

These advantages also have a negative impact such as reducing personal privacy and increasing the level of noise that can deconcentrate workers. Fortunately, these two disadvantages have a solution that, at the same time, offers and answer to the reality we are living in which virtual meetings are in their maximum peak. Therefore, offices need a silent and comfortable space that can help with the execution of daily tasks and that can guarantee concentration. This is the main reason why open offices, as we knew them, are evolving and becoming offices with a flexible design.

Open offices with a flexible design

Offices with a flexible design are the natural evolution of open offices adapted to the current situation. These offices are an answer to the users that are searching for different spaces for each of their activities without renouncing to communication and cooperation between the rest of the team. In this sense, design has brought a solution to these needs through the incorporation of private meeting rooms where workers can call or can organize videoconference meetings in soundproof rooms. These adapted spaces exploit all the advantages of open offices without having a negative impact in productivity and the user’s comfort.

How to take care of the noise?

Noise has to be taken into account from the very beginning of the project but if the office has already been built it can also be fixed through a reform and restructure. The objectives consist in isolating sources that generate noise and fomenting a policy that respects silence. To isolate noise, office equipment and machines must be put together in independent rooms using silent air conditioning systems and soundproofing the space by using sound absorbing materials.

Other aspects to take care of

Thermic comfort is another aspect that sometimes we don’t think about. With open and large spaces surrounded by smaller and individual spaces, it’s important that we can regulate temperature so there are not zones with excessive heat and others that are colder. To regulate temperature, experts recommend implementing the same climate system in similar spaces that can accommodate the same number of people with an equal design.

On the other hand, walls, ceilings, and floors have an important role when creating these types of spaces. For instance, walls on meeting rooms can be used as blackboards and the information can be read from any point of the room.

Light and lamps are another key point because they can help differentiating spaces by contributing with more or less light. A space that is destined to work silently will have a calid and fainted light while a zone where there should be a communication and cooperation between more than one person must have a bright light that visually attracts people. Light and ceilings work closely together. Playing with its height can trick our subconscious and make us believe that the spaces are different. In addition, ceilings help in creating an amplitude and flexible sensation in bigger zones. Finally, playing with floors and walls also help differentiating spaces. Therefore, colour, visual textures and decoration through art are important concepts when building flexible offices.

Without doubt, these spaces that are in full transformation and adapting to our current situation will be a trend during the following months. What do you think? Do you dare incorporating them to your office?

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