The design company that defined the open office with Google now says: open office is dead

There is no wall, open space, sitting next to colleagues or leaders. If you are already working, you will be familiar with this environment called "open office". Not only in the Internet industry, but also in the global commercial office field. it.

You can change jobs, but you may never avoid the open office.

Open office design was originally rooted in the technology industry. Due to the rise of technology companies such as Google and Microsoft, architecture and design companies designed open and adjacent open offices based on the open and innovative nature of the Internet.

The success of technology companies such as Google is often regarded as the leader in technology and efficiency, which has attracted companies from the industrial age to follow suit, but it also has corresponding problems, and noise is one of them.

This is not true. The design firm Clive Wilkinson Architects, which promoted the popularization of open office design, recently stated that the open office is dead.

Open office, from everyone seeking to everyone shouting

The designer Clive Wilkinson believes that the cubicle is an interior design that deprives human rights and isolates individuals, and strongly advocates open spaces with no barriers, neighbors, and even modularity, and believes that it can effectively improve communication and communication between people. communicate with.

Demolition of fences and abandonment of grids have also become typical features of open offices. When the Googleplex was built for Google's headquarters, Clive Wilkinson persuaded Google to adopt an open design.

▲ In order to make it easier for Google to accept open-plan offices, Clive Wilkinson initially changed the barrier between the grids to transparent glass.

In the Internet era when creativity and cooperation are becoming more and more important, open offices have been recognized by companies such as Google. In 2012, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that their headquarters in Menlo Park also mentioned :

Our idea is to create a perfect architectural space: a large room that can accommodate thousands of people, and everyone is close enough to ensure that they can work together.

From the industrial age to the digital age, technology has become the main way for most companies to seek growth. Well-known technology companies such as Google and Facebook, which are at the forefront, have naturally become the imitation objects of small and medium-sized enterprises, and open offices have become popular because of this. Got out.

▲ Facebook is located in Menlo Park's office. Image from: officesnapshots

Another reason for the open-plan office to maintain a mainstream attitude is the cost. Compared with the interior design of the cubicle, the open-plan office can arrange more office staff in the same space. Corresponding office equipment can also be used by more people, and the procurement cost is further reduced.

Especially when the prices of commercial real estate continue to rise, more and more companies pay attention to the cost.

However, with the development of society, the open office has not been able to bring higher efficiency and more cooperation as Clive Wilkinson and technology companies envisioned, but lower.

Harvard Business School conducted a detailed comparative study on open offices in 2018, and found that although open offices allow people to face-to-face, communication between people has decreased by about 70%, and communication via email or social communication software has increased. By about 50%.

Another problem with open offices is that without the barriers of walls, noise is inevitable. Frequent interruptions are not conducive to improving people's work efficiency. At least it is not suitable for all types of work or even all companies.

Even it has promoted the application of headphones in office scenes. Music can isolate some noises and indirectly create a "very busy" posture. This trend has reached its peak when wireless noise-canceling headphones such as AirPods Pro become popular. .

More and more companies pay attention to the problem of open offices. Large companies that value employee efficiency and innovation rather than its remaining costs have taken the lead in initiating changes. Especially under the impact of the epidemic, remote office has risen, and the meaning of the office has been weakened. Up.

Where will the office go in the future?

Anyway, it's not an open office. Amber Wernick, a senior interior designer at Clive Wilkinson Design Office, who promoted the popularization of open office design, even said that "open offices are dead."

The company that popularized open office design now wants to innovate it

When the open office is confronting more and more employees, many companies are also looking for change. Clive Wilkinson Architects is one of them.

It recently conducted surveys with companies in multiple industries such as TBWAChiatDay, Google, and based on relevant feedback, proposed a draft of 3 types and 12 styles of office design.

The first category is the "library", which adopts a mixed form of openness and privacy. It has unallocated collaboration stations and independent and quiet compartments, allowing people to focus on solving tasks. It is suitable for companies with multiple types of work, close Collaboration and uninterrupted focus can exist at the same time.

The second type is "squares". It is more like a community. Coffee shops, restaurants, and workspaces all exist. People are like in a city. Socialization and work can happen at the same time, making the team more familiar and better. Cooperate, especially those employees who have just returned to the office from telecommuting.

The third category is "transition space", which is more like the support part of the office space. It consists of a health check, a rest space containing a lot of plants, and a social space. While ensuring the health of employees, it also strengthens employees’ sense of the company through social interactions. Cognition.

Clive Wilkinson believes that there is no longer a once-and-for-all office today. The complexity of employee types and the epidemic has promoted the popularity of remote office. The integration of it with on-site office work will be the future trend, which inevitably requires more diversified office space. Flexibility to meet office needs.

A company may not adopt all the drafts designed by Clive Wilkinson, but the innovation of office design has begun. LinkedIn has completely remodeled the Chicago office after the epidemic, showing a completely different style.

Walking into the office area, it seems like walking into a coffee shop in a trance. Its appearance and even the office facilities, the discharge and display of stools and chairs are similar to the coffee shop, and it also has restaurants, gyms, lounges and other facilities.

Conventional cubicles or workstations are rare in the office, and are more like a place for relaxation. According to reports, since most of LinkedIn employees in Chicago are sales, the design company GENSLER will adopt such an extremely modular and flexible design.

GENSLER hopes that through these designs, employees can gain a sense of control over the working environment and give them more autonomy to choose a more comfortable working environment, just like working at home, which is also in line with the subtle influence of the rise of telecommuting on people.

For this reason, GENSLER has also conducted surveys on more than 2,300 employees of different age groups and occupations, and found that when employees have greater control over the working environment, their creativity and work quality have been improved.

From an open office to a flexible office that is gradually being accepted, one of the clear lines is the concern for efficiency, privacy, and a comfortable working environment, while the dark line is the emergence of a new corporate culture.

Design environment, design experience, and convey culture

In the digital age, the development of technology allows work to be carried out anytime and anywhere. The WordPress parent company closed their last office in San Francisco in 2017. This 1394 square meter office has been used extremely frequently during the lease period of more than 6 years. Low, employees mostly work at home or remotely.

But this does not mean that there is no need for the office to exist. In addition to the office, another great significance is the most intuitive embodiment of corporate culture.

This is still one of the main ways of business management, especially among large enterprises.

The well-known game company Supercell in Finland has only more than 200 formal employees, but more than 1,000 outsourced employees from different suppliers. Even so, Supercell still spends money to decorate the offices where the outsourced employees are located, making them look like Supercell Own office.

Looking at the rise of open offices in Internet companies from this perspective, it is not an intuitive display of corporate culture.

Just like Hewlett-Packard and other technology companies were born in garages, Internet companies were mostly in the early stage because of conditions. Open offices that are more friendly to operating costs and facilitate direct communication between personnel have become one of their best choices.

Internet companies hope to continue the cultural tradition of team cooperation. It is a good choice to continue to build an open office. This is one of the reasons why it still exists in many Internet companies.

Similarly, this is one of the reasons for the rise of flexible and modular office design styles. The highly flexible office space adapts to people’s working habits after the epidemic, and at the same time shows the corporate culture of a company-with more flexible Ways to complete work efficiently.

In the past, most of the office reforms started with design or construction companies. However, as large companies attach importance to corporate culture and even values, the initiative has gradually shifted to the hands of large companies.

Norman Foster, a well-known architect who designed the Apple Park for Apple, said in an interview with The Spaces that the overall trend is for entrepreneurs to promote new design ideas.

Apple Park was initiated by Jobs and then carried out by Chief Design Officer Jony Ive and his team with the support of CEO Tim Cook.

It is in line with the energy-saving and environmental protection that Apple has always promoted. A large number of solar panels have been laid on the top of the buildings in the park to power the park as a sustainable energy source. Some time ago, Apple also purchased Tesla's super energy storage at a solar power plant in California Batteries, to strengthen investment in sustainable energy, this is also one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world.

In the park, you can also see cases of combining technology and even Apple hardware. For example, visitors can use an iPad with a specific AR application and scan the Apple Park model with the iPad to understand all aspects of the park with the help of AR technology.

The design office is also a design experience, but also a transmission of corporate culture.

Different office environments give people different user experiences, and different experiences also bring people different perceptions of the company. The corporate culture flows with the office, attracting people with the same intentions to enter.

The title picture comes from: unsplash

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