Office Partition Singapore
No business ever got ahead by blindly following their competitors and jumping on the bandwagon.
If you’re thinking about doing away with office partitions altogether because an open-plan office is the only way to go, here’s something to think about: It could be hurting your business.
Open-plan offices with 1.2m high dividers are the norm in Singapore, and American companies are catching up. The International Facility Management Association estimated last year that about 70 per cent of American offices now have low partitions or none at all.
Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook and eBay popularised open-plan offices in the United States, but those same tech companies are now rethinking their workspaces.
Going back to a warren of cubicles, with employees hidden behind 2.7m-tall partitions, isn’t the solution. The answer lies somewhere in between.
There is increasing evidence, however, that forcing employees to do everything out in the open is only giving bosses a false sense of productivity.
Numerous recent studies published in recent years have found that open-plan offices may be stress-inducing and result in poorer work performances for many employees.
In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, nearly half of those surveyed said that the lack of sound privacy was a significant problem, while about one-third complained about the lack of visual privacy.
They’re also unhealthy in a literal sense as diseases spread easier in an office where you can see one end of the room to the other over low partitions.
The main “pro” is that open-plan offices maximise space while minimising costs – think of a flat factory floor with no walls, just workbenches.
Open-plan offices can easily accommodate 50 per cent more employees in the same space. You could fit in a dozen employees on a straight desk in the same space taken up by eight workers in cubicles
These open offices also look busier because you can see everyone, and everyone on the floor is busy looking busy as they know they’re being watched and won’t dare take a couple of minutes off answer WhatsApp messages.
In theory, bringing down the walls allows greater collaboration between workers, and the increased interaction fosters team-spirit.
NOT TOO HIGH, NOT TOO LOW
The right office-partition solution will balance collaboration and concentration.
Many offices have opted to go for 1.6m-tall medium-height dividers as a compromise, giving employees some privacy while allowing them to stand up and speak to their neighbour without having to walk around to their cubicle.
Meanwhile, areas for team meetings or other special uses are sectioned off areas.
Other forward-looking companies are employing a mix of the two, with teams of four to eight employees sectioned off behind traditional 2.7m cubicle partitions, and low dividers within those clusters.