Bridge over ocean
1 January 2015 CFA Institute Journal Review

Balancing “We” and “Me” (Digest Summary)

  1. Neeti Goyal

An open office plan is touted as a panacea for corporate interiors. But when implemented incorrectly, it does not provide the desired results. The authors discuss the various forms of individual privacy and organizational strategies for maintaining it.

What’s Inside?

Open office plans are dominant in today’s society. The primary reasons for opting for an open office are greater communication, idea generation, collaborative resonance, and speed. Some people, however, do not appreciate such a design because it hampers privacy. Therefore, organizations need to incorporate ways to allow individual privacy in an open office environment.

How Is This Article Useful to Practitioners?

An open-plan office layout has pros and cons for both a firm’s personnel and its bottom line. In an open office work environment, there are no distinct rooms or fully enclosed spaces. Instead, workstations are positioned together and separated by panels within one exposed floor plan. The openness may improve communication and collaboration among the employees, but it also may reduce concentration and productivity, hence damaging productivity. Lack of privacy is another potential problem with open office spaces, where computer screens are easily visible by those walking by and telephone conversations are likely to be overheard.

The authors provide an interpretation of the term “privacy” and explain its different forms in a corporate environment. They also discuss ways that organizations can control these negative aspects of an open office by providing privacy to all of their employees. They provide enriching insight for all corporate professionals, especially human resource personnel.

Abstractor’s Viewpoint

In open-space offices, people talk more frequently and information exchange is better than in traditional offices. Open offices are ubiquitous for this reason. But corporations also need to adopt measures to allow personal space. The authors have picked up an interesting topic, but their coverage is a bit limited.

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