Does office layout affect efficiency?
What effect does the environment in which you work actually affect the quality of the work you do? This is a question that agencies and brands ask all the time, especially when they see a plateau in growth or a perceived dip in quality.
There have been many theories as to what the best layout for an office should be. Should it be open-plan? Should employees have a set desk or be allowed to hot desk as they see fit? Should there be social spaces within the office?
Lots of companies have put time and effort into trying to turn their offices into spaces and inspire creativity and provide employees with a nice environment to spend hours a day in. The reason companies do this, ultimately, is to try and improve worker efficiency which will then translate into more sales and better productivity.
But is who a person sits next to more important than the environment that they are sitting in?
A new report by digital consultancy Red Badger has found that while the vast majority of senior decision makers in marketing departments believe that breaking down traditional office configurations would have a positive effect, few actually ever get around to doing it.
Promoting cross-departmental collaboration
Red Badger surveyed 750 senior decision makers in organisations with over 500 members of staff. 97% of them claimed to believe that office arrangements that promote collaboration between teams would increase project efficiency. However, only 13% actually have offices configured in this way and 65% feature seating arrangements firmly defined by department.
This belief in the power of office rearrangement was strong among respondents. 66% said breaking department silos would boost efficiency, 37% said it would increase trust and 42% thought it would allow for better focus on broad company goals rather than strictly departmental ones.
Despite this, only 14% though that these kinds of changes will happen within the next 12 months. So, where is the strong belief in office reorganisation coming from?
“Marketing leaders are often seen as early adopters and open-minded when it comes to new ways of working, something that our research has echoed,” Cain Ullah, Founder and CEO of Red Badger says.
“Departmental silos, and arranging offices in this way, feels like a hangover from a time when industrialised workers needed to be closely supervised to ensure that they completed tasks efficiently. In today’s economy, where skilled workers have more autonomy, these seating plans are outdated and as our research shows, are actually slowing organisations down.”