Say Goodbye to the Open Plan Office (and hello to glass enclosures!)

Most people associate Florida State Glass and Mirror with things like glass shower enclosures and glass railings, but we are highly experienced in the design and installation of custom commercial glass installations. And now that Covid-19 has dealt the open plan office what will probably amount to a fatal blow, that’s something you might want to keep in mind. 

Frameless glass enclosures might allow you to maintain the best attributes of an open plan office while losing some of the negatives and keeping your employees safe. 

The History of Open Plan Offices

You could say that Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous 20th-century architect, was the father of the open plan office. According to National Geographic, Wright “believed the design would democratize the workplace by tearing down walls both literally and socially. Eighty years later, designers and architects tout similar benefits, saying the open environment allows employees to collaborate more easily.”

As is often the case, the reality does not match up with the dream. “One 2018 study published by the Royal Society measured changes in employee habits when offices transitioned to open layouts. In each case, they found face-to-face communication declined by 70 percent, while electronic communication increased. Worried about distracting others or being overheard, the study says employees began to ‘socially withdraw.’” 

In all fairness, 21st-century open plan offices probably don’t stack up with Wright’s concept, which did not include desks being crammed up against each other.  

Even before Covid-19 made social distancing necessary researchers found that employees worried about the risk of catching something when working in an open plan office. National Geographic refers to another study also published in 2018, which clearly demonstrated that “fear of infection makes crowded spaces more psychologically stressful.”

According to the experts, the open plan office was on the way out even before the novel coronavirus turned all that togetherness into a health hazard. “The broad stroke is that the open office is over, [but] there’s a bunch of different things that that means,” Amol Sarva, CEO of office interior design firm Knotel, told National Geographic.

If you would like more information about commercial uses for frameless glass enclosures, glass railings and perhaps even frameless glass balcony railings, please contact us.