Honestly, we went into the research for this post figuring that everyone would be ALL about open workspaces. Turns out they’re not. There are actually lots of articles, including some from huge business gurus like Forbes, that say having an open workspace these days is a “disaster” (thank the Chicago Tribune for that one).
So there goes our great blog idea. Not to worry, we’ll turn it around.
A lot of people don’t like the open workspace concept
This was weird to us, because we generally love our open workspace design. But, the more we think about it, the more it makes sense. As much as we love our offices, you have to have a certain type of business, and a certain type of person within it, to make an open office workspace… workable.
What do you want your company to look like?
For us, the reason we choose to have this type of setup goes back to the culture of our business, which we talk about ALL the time. When we thought about what we wanted our company to value and the type of employee we wanted to attract, they were the type of person who would do well in an open workspace.
That person has to be flexible, self-motivated, creative, collaborative, and team-oriented. Because is it distracting at times? Yes. Do people sometimes waste time talking about Brooklyn 99 and shooting each other with nerf guns? Yes.
As long as people get their work done, do we care what they do? No.
We have a lot of creative people working for us and sometimes, to get out of a creative rut, you gotta take a break and shoot the shit with someone. Or shoot shit at someone. You also gotta be able to buckle down and focus on the task at hand, tuning out what’s going on around you. If we have someone who can’t focus and loses their mind every time they get interrupted or slightly distracted, maybe we don’t want that person in our environment.
At this point, let’s just quickly address the fact that it’s not a free-for-all around here. We don’t just let our employees run a muck and keep everyone else from getting work done. But, to prevent that, we don’t isolate ourselves. We just hire people that we can trust not to abuse their freedom and the freedom of their coworkers.
So open workspaces aren’t for every company
Like, no, we wouldn’t suggest an open workspace design for licensed professional counselors because that would be super weird and we’re pretty sure it’s illegal.
More realistically, maybe call centers, finance companies, and other, more corporate groups wouldn’t do well with an open office workspace. It just kind of depends on the company. You have to be smart about it, but always consider the type of culture you want to emphasize.
It may work for you, it may not. But it works for us. So suck it, Forbes.
If you ask our employees how they feel about the setup of Wolf & Key, you’ll generally get answers that might remind you of when we talked about working in a warehouse. That’s to say, you’ll definitely hear both pros and cons. Whether or not an open workspace is the best choice for your company is up to you, but we’ll leave you with our thoughts in the following lists:
Pros of an Open Workspace According to the Wolves:
- You feel like you’re a part of everything going on – everyone’s equally involved
- It’s not claustrophobic. It’s bright and open, much like our hearts (eye roll).
- Our open workspace design makes it easy to collaborate with co-workers
- There’s less division and hierarchy
- Sometimes it helps creatively because you can get with other team members easily for advice and new ideas
Cons of an Open Workspace According to the Wolves:
- Sometimes it’s annoying & distracting as hell
- You can hear/see everyone, so, if there’s a lot going on, it can get chaotic
- Only one person can pick music (and it’s pretty much always Taylor)