This article takes readers on a tour of several cutting-edge businesses in Boston and Cincinnati where traditional closed-door corporate workplaces have been transformed into interactive, open environments. The author acclaims the growth in the amount of office space dedicated to collaborative efforts and the salutary effect that this has had on communication, accessibility and speed of decision making.
There is an interesting discussion of the reaction of one law firm’s members on moving into their new glass-walled work areas. Initial concerns loomed large over privacy, confidentiality and simply keeping the spaces neat now that everyone could see in. Soon, however, people found they could communicate more quickly and they enjoyed the new sense of community as they finally began putting faces to people they had previously only e-mailed for years.
Something similar happened at Proctor & Gamble’s headquarters where their new office design and its open-door concept led to increased productivity and teamwork. As P&G’s chief executive put it, “Before a person in one office would send a memo to a person four offices away instead of getting off their tail, walking down the hall, and talking to them. That just doesn’t happen anymore… Things get done a lot faster, problems get identified sooner, opportunities get identified sooner.”