July/August 2020 – Facing the Music

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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C R E AT E D BY BCBusiness I N PA RT N E RS H I P W IT H 34F DESIGN drawbacks of open offices is the level of distraction they create. For employees writing reports, balancing accounts or doing other work that requires intensive concentration, the increased noise level creates a distraction that makes it difficult to stay productive. Cubicle walls block out some of the noise, making it easier to focus and helping employees maintain high levels of productivity. Another reason productivity declines in open offices is that employees must constantly multitask. While working on a report, an employee may be distracted by an argument between two colleagues, the ringing telephone at the next desk or the arrival of a client at the reception area. If there aren't enough employees to handle the workload, an employee may also have to jump up to sign for a package or greet a visitor at the front desk, creating additional disruptions. Cubicle walls eliminate some of these distractions. Work-Related Stress Working in an open-plan office also has the potential to increase employee stress levels, reducing productiv- ity and increasing insurance costs for employers. The open-plan office design assumes that all workers operate the same way under the same set of circum- stances. That couldn't be further from the truth. An extrovert who loves to be sur- rounded by people and doesn't mind constant chatter may love an open office, but in introvert who feels drained by social interaction is likely to loathe this type of office design. Jeffrey James of Inc. magazine reports that some employees get so stressed out by work- ing in open offices they have panic attacks or develop stress-related illnesses. Switching to cubicles could help these workers get some stress relief. Visual Clutter Cubicles also help reduce visual clutter. Allowing employees to decorate their work areas makes the work environment more pleasant, but if a workplace design has no walls, there's nothing to prevent all those decorations from blending together and producing visual clutter that some employ- ees find distracting. With a cubicle-based office environment, photos, plants and other decorative items are mostly hidden from view, making it easier for everyone to concentrate. Need help choosing your commercial interior design firm? Let's talk. n Visit www.34f.ca. P R O M O T E D C O N T E N T

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