In March, we asked our readers what kind of physical office layout they prefer in their ideal work environment. “A mix between cubicle and offices” took the top spot with 55% of the votes, followed by “all private offices” in second with 19%. “Remote work spaces (i.e. coffee shops, home office, etc.)” was third with 14% and “one large room with low-profile work spaces” was fourth with 8%. The least popular office layout was “all cubicles” with only 2% of the vote.
Some respondents chose the “other” option and submitted their own responses, including:
- Semi-private, sound-reducing cubicles
- Desks with stand-up options
- High-walled cubicles set up in “like-temperature” zones
- Offices for introverts and open space for extroverts
Although it’s not necessarily surprising that one of the most common office layouts—a mix between cubicles and offices—came in at number one, the trend of working remotely is becoming more common, especially as connectivity technology continues to evolve and advance. In a 2016 Refresh Leadership article about the ways the workforce is changing, we noted:
“In a recent study, Gallup found that 58% of Americans believe workers who work remotely are just as productive as those who work in a business office. In a separate study, Nicholas Bloom, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and Co-Director of the Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, put this theory to the test. Working with travel website Ctrip co-founder James Liang, Bloom selected some workers to work from home, while the others worked in the office as a control group. After nine months, the remote employees completed 13.5% more calls than their in-office counter parts—adding up to nearly an extra day of work out of each employee per week. Moreover, the company saved $1,900 in office space and supplies per employee during the nine-month period.”
Millennials Will Shape the Future Work Environment
Millennials recently took the crown as the largest generation in the workplace, and their impact on the way future work environments transform is already being felt. In fact, Millennial entrepreneurs view remote work arrangements as a more economical way to get their businesses off the ground. A recent article featured on Forbes.com listed that the key benefits for Millennial start-ups to go “full-remote” include:
- Fewer startup costs
- Lower overhead
- Easier travel arrangements
- Less commute time
- More appeal for hires
- Wider range of hires
No Two Businesses are Alike
Whether you prefer open space, remote offices, or cubicles, the important part is finding an arrangement that works for you and your business. What makes sense for one company, may actually be counterproductive for others. Talking with your workforce is the key. Discuss the challenges your employees face each day and how your current work environment may be adding to that stress, then you’ll be better equipped to optimize your office for productivity.
What type of office layout do you have? Does it work for you? What changes would you like to make? Let us know in the comments section below.