Open Floor Plans – Yay or Nay?

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October 15, 2016
TransparencyWe live in a modern world where transparency is given a lot of importance.

Transparency in a workplace, many experts say, encourages employee engagement and connection. While this is good, there is a pitfall to going for open floor plans in the office.

According to a recent study at the Harvard Business School, open floor plans actually hit productivity of employees negatively because not many of them fancy being watched by their managers as they work. It is a known fact that employees always look to deliver through quick ways. Most of them have a knack of finding out easier and quicker ways to do things. They are also usually able to unearth shortcuts to accomplish tasks. However, when they know they are constantly being watched or assessed, they are forced into doing things in the long, tedious way.Being under the scrutiny of the managers compels them to do their best, which in turn pressurizes them a lot. Such pressure doesn’t help. This is how productivity goes down.

When there is a little privacy for employees in the workplace, thus, they tend to perform better. This will serve as an excellent reminder for all founders and leaders that even though transparency is a great concept, it is a good idea to let your employees be at times. When it is work time, they need privacy and calmness so that they ignite their skills and creativity to get the work done. Put yourself in their shoes and think about it. Would you rather be watched as you do something or would you rather do it alone? Surely, the latter choice is ideal.

Expert advice to leaders, therefore, is to take things lightly when it comes to employee transparency. It is completely okay if your employees prefer working alone. Your job is to encourage them and trust them. If you can’t trust your employees by giving them some amount of privacy to get their job done, you simply can’t run your business. Accept the fact that your employees might not do things exactly how you picture them or exactly how you want them done. They have their own ways and as long as you get a positive result, you should be okay with letting go.

Of course, agreed that you have policies because you have a solid reason behind them but you should be open to making changes. Flexibility should be your mantra.

Entrepreneurial Learning

While transparency is great, you should understand that employees are generally very uncomfortable with being under your eye all the time. Thus, open floor plans for your office may not be the way to go. Let them be and use their skills to complete tasks. Don’t try to micromanage or push your ways on them.

Image courtesy of [Ambro] /

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