Open, colorful, lively, and bristling with convenient amenities at every turn, this is the style that many tech startups have chosen to adopt when designing their offices. The rationale for this concept revolves around creating a venue for spontaneous conversation and uninhibited idea exchange.
Now, this design paradigm, which has for several years been the sole domain of younger tech and design companies, is starting to become a more popular choice among more traditional businesses. A recent article from SFGate comments:
San Francisco tech companies have long embraced an aesthetic of open workspaces, colorful decor and convenient amenities.
But increasingly, other Bay Area companies are seeking to give their own offices that sleek, high-tech look.
Law firms, investment banks and research groups are just a few of the types of companies that are transforming their offices to look more like their tech neighbors down the street. According to industry experts, these traditional companies are making a wise decision in adopting the tech world's approach to office design. …
[Says] Randy Howder, a principal at architecture and design firm Gensler who has worked on offices ranging from Facebook to the FBI. … "Even more established companies are realizing that an office space should be reflective of who you are and how you feel most comfortable, particularly because they're competing for the same clients and talent as tech companies."
The Need for Innovation
The shift toward tech startup style offices reflects how these spaces have allowed innovation to thrive in some of the biggest tech companies in the world. Google, Oracle and Facebook all developed their offices around this paradigm, and more traditional companies are recognizing that if they want to be ready for the future, they will have to follow suit.
The strength of open plan designs comes primarily from their intensely social nature. Individuals share common spaces and their spheres of activity overlap. This then leads to casual conversations that may, in turn, lead to discussions that become the basis for creating innovative new ideas.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Before managers settle on tech startup style designs when planning their new DC office space, however, they should take the time to understand their advantages and disadvantages. While open plan designs are conducive to innovation, they don’t necessarily work for everyone. Several studies have already linked such designs to increased stress, hypertension, and staff attrition.
Managers trying to find an ideal balance that leverages the strengths of both closed and open spaces may find flexible executive office suites in Washington, DC, like the ones offered by Metro Offices, a great alternative, on the other hand. Such facilities often allow for quicker changes that respond to a company’s evolving needs.
(Article Information and Image from Tech leads the way in office design, SFGate, January 10, 2014)