The open office layout gained traction in commercial buildings in recent years. But while the idea of an open layout seems like it would boost productivity and cooperation, it often had the opposite effect. For this reason, today's office building designers often recommend focusing on other ways that the concept of 'open' and 'closed' can be applied. Here are a few examples to consider. 

1. Open Up Options. Rather than a large space without walls, make more options open to employees. Provide them with different workspaces. These might include individual offices, small and large group meeting areas, collaboration spaces, reading nooks, outside work areas, or videoconferencing rooms. Tailor the choices to how your employees work in consultation with them. More options mean everyone gets what they need when they need it. 

2. Open Up Ceilings. Did you know that what's going on above office workers' heads can boost their productivity? Two key ingredients can make them better workers. One is a higher ceiling. Simply raising the ceilings a foot or two makes people feel more comfortable. The second is better natural lighting. When possible add skylights, upper windows, and even lofts to bring in more energy. 

3. Close Private Spaces. Everyone needs a bit of privacy at some point. But many offices don't provide much — or even any — private space to handle things like an emergency personal call, a sensitive meeting with a client, or even a private need such as breast pumping. Give your people the space to close themselves off without question when they need to. 

4. Open Up Scheduling. The open office may not be the ideal physical layout, but it's a smart virtual layout through scheduling. Giving people more choices as to where, when, and how they work makes them feel more appreciated and in control. It can also help you reduce the physical footprint of the office space. 

5. Close Off for Noise. Finally, reduce the noise pollution in your office through good design. An open office tends to be a noisy one, leading to frustration and distractions for staff. Fight noise pollution through the strategic use of walls or booths, sound-proofing floor and ceiling materials, sound-friendly furniture, and even plants to soften sounds. 

Where to Learn More

Want to know more about how to integrate these modern office needs into your design? Start by meeting with an experienced commercial builder in your area. With their expertise and your vision, you'll create both the open and closed features your employees need to work at their best. For more information, contact a company like Morelock Builders and Associates.