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Open Plan Office - good idea or big mistake?

(106 Posts)
PanamaPattie Thu 21-Mar-19 15:59:13

My employer (NHS) has made the decision to take down walls and make our office space open plan. Over 100 people will be sharing. Hot desks and lockers will replace the current arrangement of individual desks and drawers.

I don't like this idea at all - I imagine fighting over desks, lack of privacy, heat (we're losing the air con), noise, no eating or drinking at desks.

It sounds like utter misery.

AIBU?

Divgirl2 Thu 21-Mar-19 16:04:12

Every office I've ever worked in has been open plan - I can't imagine how horribly depressing the alternative would be. My current office of about 320 people is completely open plan and it's fine. It's quiet and there's nowhere to hide and skive so more work actually gets done. Plus it feels bright and airy.

It'll be fine, it's normal to fear change.

daisypond Thu 21-Mar-19 16:04:28

I’m afraid it’s completely normal in workplaces and has been for years. Mine is like that. No individual desks but a locker to keep your stuff. You have to clear your desk at the end of the day. I don’t like it either.

thewinkingprawn Thu 21-Mar-19 16:05:24

I hated it when we first did it but have worked for 3 different companies now, all open plan. Really like it - friendly, better atmosphere etc

WeepingWillowWeepingWino Thu 21-Mar-19 16:07:37

It'll be an adjustment but you will get used to it - as PPs have said, it's the norm - each desk with fixed computer costs ££££s, so if there are empty desks a lot of the time (people out at meetings, working from home/off site/part time) that is a huge amount of wasted money.

The air con would be my biggest problem - there must be some kind of solution proposed?

bingoitsadingo Thu 21-Mar-19 16:08:17

I don't mind open plan, although it depends on the environment - awful if people are on the phone a lot, not so bad if just quiet work and occasional chatter.

I absolutely HATE hot desking though.

FastnetLundyRockall Thu 21-Mar-19 16:08:24

This is likely to be about getting more people in the same space isn't it, so your employer needs to make sure that temperatures are properly addressed and tgat there are meeting rooms / pods at the very least. No eating or drinking at desks is horrible though. I don't mind hot desking if I have to, it means that people don't clutter up their desks with endless stuff, but I know some people feel uncomfortable without it. The idea that open plan = collaborative working is sheer bollocks though ime

Purpleartichoke Thu 21-Mar-19 16:12:12

They will find that the studies are accurate. Illness will go up. Stress will go up. They will lose many quality employees.
They will save money though so they won’t care that turnover increases and work quality declines.

buttyblahblah Thu 21-Mar-19 16:14:14

I work in a massive open plan office and it's just horrible.

We seem to be by some very loud, chatty people so I have to wear headphones to concentrate but now one member of my team seems annoyed wants me to listen to every conversation in our team in case it's useful.

DH hot desks in an open plan office and hates it too. Some people have their regular hot desks and ask him to move as he is only in a couple of days a week.

Brace yourself, get headphones and try to work from home if possible.

WeepingWillowWeepingWino Thu 21-Mar-19 16:15:08

that just sounds like stick-in-the-muds, tbh.

Unused desks cost a fortune. Do people think the NHS can afford to spend money on unused desks?

The worst place I have ever worked was an older building with lots of small rooms. Totally unfit for purpose.

YesQueen Thu 21-Mar-19 16:16:12

Mine is open plan but it's a small contact centre with maybe 10 people. Desk move around every so often but we have drawers and I don't move as health condition
We can eat and drink at desks

So best of both worlds really!

daisypond Thu 21-Mar-19 16:17:06

Main problems are the amount of time that can be wasted adjusting your chair and desk to the right settings every day , and there tends to issues with the pcs meaning that your profile might not follow you around as it’s meant to, you lose stuff you were working on or your setup disappears and the tech department has to keep fixing things. There’s a preference for certain desks too but we can’t pick our own, we are assigned one at the start of each day. And it can be noisy if someone is on the phone or clattering away on the keyboard and you’re trying to think. But I’m an introvert, it doesn’t suit me.

FriarTuck Thu 21-Mar-19 16:18:20

Sounds hideous for anyone who likes a bit of peace and quiet to actually get some work done and isn't one of the noisy brigade. But unfortunately the noisy lot always get their own way. You have my sympathy.

Streamside Thu 21-Mar-19 16:19:29

It's awful if you've been used to individual offices but you're obviously not going to have any choice.Keep an eye on temperatures and humidity levels and complain loudly about them if necessary.I'm convinced that some of us are just unsuited to open plan arrangements and I've found that tiered desk tidies etc have created some natural barriers /screens for me. I'm convinced that some people just endlessly tap at computers all day in a pretence of working.

Eliza9917 Thu 21-Mar-19 16:21:59

I absolutely detest open plan. My new job I started last week is open plan ffs.

Its disruptive with people walking around, eating, tapping, typing, taking calls. Plus temperature disagreements.

I much prefer to sit in a room on my own.

JenniferJareau Thu 21-Mar-19 16:23:27

Most place I have worked are like this now. You learn to tune noise out or listen to your phone / iPod etc. You'll find that even if you are meant to hot desk a percentage never will and will have a right go at you if you sit at 'their desk'. If you get I early it is better as you get your choice of desks.

no eating or drinking at desks

That's unreasonable! How will they police that?

Jebuschristchocolatebar Thu 21-Mar-19 16:24:10

We have this in my office and I love it. We have designated neighborhoods for quiet work so no phone calls allowed. It works if everyone is invested in it. We have lots of styles of working area, big tables, pods of a few desks etc so it’s grand. We all work off a centralized server so we don’t need to worry about PCs and profiles. It’s all on the cloud. I have got to know so many new people since we changed to the new system and have become more organized and pretty much paperless becuase we have tiny lockers

starabara Thu 21-Mar-19 16:26:24

It works here now that we have a light above each desk- red, amber or green: it’s like a do not disturb, only disturb if urgent, or come on over light!

Grace212 Thu 21-Mar-19 16:27:56

awful, sorry.

Stress will go up, illness will go up, productivity will go down.

why are you losing the air con?

are they trying to encourage people working from home (long shot)?

I have worked in places with no eating or drinking at desks - usually a bottle of water swigged from your bag is exempt.

workplaces just get worse don't they. Sorry OP.

Grace212 Thu 21-Mar-19 16:28:57

I am someone who can't tune out noise though. If you can, you might find it better.

beenandgoneandbackagain Thu 21-Mar-19 16:32:10

I really dislike open plan, having worked in various set ups. Whoever came up with the idea forgot how territorial humans are. There are many studies showing that open plan offices are more stressful and far less collaborative and creative than smaller spaces.

ShartGoblin Thu 21-Mar-19 16:33:26

Open plan is great for the employer as it saves money (except it doesn't actually). Utterly shit for employees. I feel like a right scruff as I sit in a blanket most days because the air con is ice cold (I'm not the only one by a long shot). I get ill far more often and loud chit chat is very distracting so my productivity is way down compared to days where I can work from home in a quiet room.

PanamaPattie Thu 21-Mar-19 16:33:56

Air con is going because it isn't "green". I'll just have to carry a desk fan with me. No chance of working from home. We are expected to eat in the meal room that sits 20 when at least 100 members of staff are on duty at any one time. Happy days. Not.

ScreamingValenta Thu 21-Mar-19 16:37:10

Open plan is OK, but I'm no fan of hot-desking. As pps said, it slows down computers and you have to adjust your chair etc. every day. Also, some people leave desks in a mess. If desks are in short supply, you can waste time at the start of the day actually finding somewhere to sit down and work.

WeepingWillowWeepingWino Thu 21-Mar-19 16:37:28

right, well, that's not an issue with open plan per se, that's just bad management.

Is there no staff forum or committee involved with this shake up?

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