The 'Open Office' is not a new idea, what is new; or more relevant, is the business types and companies that choose to explore the concept of "reducing the separation of people with physical barriers" That is the general common denominator of "Open Offices" There are an infinite number of ways to execute that basic model. Most ordinary people think of the "open office" part being the 'sea of desks' (ME Space, where you sit at YOUR desk and 'work') lets accept that for a moment, the interesting part, and arguably the measure of success is in the types and number of 'other' spaces that support that "Open Office" often called WE Space, places that are not my individual desk but are places that I can go and meet or work with one or more other people, conference rooms are an example, there are many others. Increasingly we're finding that the provision of a third type of space which we call, FREE Space, not only gives workers significantly greater choice in how and where to work, but as the WE and FREE space ratio increases, the importance of the ME space to the worker reduces significantly, allowing the designer and real estate team to quite drastically rethink the ME Space. To continue the analogy, when a 'Sea of Desks' is surrounded by golden sand beaches and palm trees to retreat to, people are much more content and productive. So before you start complaining about how terrible your 'open office' is, look around and ask yourself where the WE and FREE spaces are?
Author: Richard Lott