In two weeks we’re moving into a newly renovated suite in the Atlanta Tech Village with a number of cool features like 12 foot ceilings, exposed duct work, indirect lighting, iPads outside all meeting rooms/phone booth rooms, seven 70 inch LED TVs mounted on the walls, and an open floorplan with no private offices. I’ve been a part of a number of cool, interesting offices but this will be the first time I’ve tried the open floorplan with no private offices.
Design wise, we’ll have 40 desks total split into two large rooms with 25 and 15 desks respectively. Then, on the interior perimeter of the suite, we have three phone booths (tiny rooms for personal calls, cold calling, web demos, etc), four team rooms that support up to four people per room, and one board room that supports 14+ people. So, seven shared rooms for 40 people. Assuming 12 people are gone on any given day working from home, on vacation, at a trade show, etc. that leaves a ratio of one shared private room per four people, which feels like plenty right now (we can squeeze in more desks in the open floor plan eventually).
Naturally, there are concerns about noise, personal space, and interruptions. We’ll have high quality white noise machines, sound boards, rollable partitions, and plenty of furniture to help with some of the noise but a loud conversation will still carry throughout the space. Part of the process will be unwinding general tendencies to collaborate right on the spot in the open area and instead move to the one of the break out rooms (the different rooms will be equipped with white board paint and iMacs to enhance their usefulness).
Open floorplans with no private offices are still rare but slowly growing in popularity, especially in the startup world. It’s a new change for me and I’m looking forward to it.
What else? What are your thoughts on open floorplans with no private offices?