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The Culture of Scrutiny Is Dying Out, So Redesign Your Workspace

Office designs have always included an element of “Big Brother is watching.” Whether it’s through having managers sit at the back of the cubicle row so they can stand up and evaluate if people look on-task, or through the giant “fish pool” design, there was always a feeling of being watched. While accountability and productivity are just as important as ever, trust matters more than manager vigilance. Here are a few changes that can make that oppressive 1980s office feel go away:

1. Give employees options on where to sit.

Not everyone works well in a cubicle, and not everyone works well when they’re surrounded by neighbors without dividing walls. Create an office with seating options so people can go where they’re comfortable. With instant messaging, it’s easy enough to find and communicate with people no matter where they’re sitting.

2. Give everyone equal footing on the amenities.

Get rid of the natural order of seating. New employees don’t have to sit at the front or at the end. Managers don’t need to be able to physically oversee everyone from the back. Even executives should mingle in the communal seating. While there are some constraints — documents need to be protected and sometimes calls have to be behind closed doors — that shouldn’t be the case 24/7.

3. Measure results instead of compliance.

This is less of a direct style mandate than it is a cultural element, but it still comes through in your office design. Loosen up the schedule so people can get their work done when it works for them, especially if that flexibility doesn’t hurt customer service. Not only will employees stay longer with a company that doesn’t tap a watch at them, that opens up more of the seating so everyone in the office is comfortable.

For all of the tools and design plans to put your office in 2024 instead of 1984, contact us at Studio Other.