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Use of Open Plan Environment

Many of today’s small-medium businesses are comprised of a small number of employees, a limited amount of initial funds and also some innovative minds with unique trains of thought .Alongside the formation of many small-medium companies, grew a need for a new method of work for small teams with a reduced amount of resources.

In order to allow the delicate balance between the above mentioned elements to be maintained, there is a need to find new work methods. One such work methods concentrates on the maximum use of limited space whilst allowing constant interaction between team-mates within the business or work group. This method is related to the physical work environment and is named ‘open plan environment’.

What is ‘open plan environment’? This method of office structure has many variations but the main concept it maintains is to utilize the office space as one large open space allowing dialogue, ideas and communication to flow freely between the team members, without confining them to specific workstations, office spaces etc.

How does it work? An open plan environment usually consists of a large open office space with workstations that can be used in rotation by the employees; sometimes regardless of their position or rank within the company. This is in order stimulate the constant interaction between employees and induce brainstorming. This kind of environment also allows ideas to come from every team members as all is said and heard in the open plan environment. Variations of the open space environment include use of cubicles, clusters of desks, combination of people working at the office and from home, etc.

The success of this concept is measured by both employee satisfaction (this of course varies between case studies) and by the turnout of the team or entire business that is working within an open plan environment.

Such an environment seems to be a very good solution for small-medium business or entrepreneurs who are in need of a common physical workspace but need to adapt it to the dynamic nature of today’s virtual world, where every person communicated on-the-job and on-line. Another aspect of the open plan environment is the cost-effectiveness of it, meaning that the business doesn’t have to provide a workstation per employee as there can be rotations and also days to work from home.

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