Feeling Unproductive? Take this Quiz to Determine Your Ideal Working Environment
Finding it difficult to be productive at the office? You could be working in the wrong type of work environment! A lot of people forget to factor this in when considering new jobs or when trying to boost their daily productivity. Take this quick quiz to determine what type of working setting fits your personality and professional needs best.
Activity-based working offices support employee needs by providing different spaces and resources for the different types of work. You would work best in this type of setting because you value flexibility, variety, and choice in your workplace environment. You’re willing to forego absolute autonomy over specific spaces and resources in exchange for a workplace that better suits the organization’s goals as a whole.
Advantages of an activity-based working office:
“ABW environments deliver significant performance improvements on multiple measurement lines for employees who modify behaviors to their new surroundings” - Leesman, The Rise and Rise of Activity-Based Work
Drawbacks of an activity-based working office:
In response to the isolation of the traditional closed office setting, a completely transparent alternative took form: the open office. Without boundaries between workstations and no hierarchy in the seating arrangement, open offices were attractive to organizations hoping to inspire more candid collaboration in their employees. You likely work well in an open office because you are outgoing and not easily distracted. You also don’t mind sharing office spaces and resources with colleagues and don’t mind having little to no sense of privacy.
Benefits of an open office setting:
Drawbacks of an open office setting:
As you can tell, there are more drawbacks to the open office than benefits. While the open office can sound like a nice concept, more often than not this layout is poorly designed with higher focus on cost efficiency than employee productivity per square foot. The best parts of the open office - transparency and easy collaboration - are also achieved with other types of working to avoid the pain points experienced in an open setting. While an open office may be the answer for you, we recommend taking a look into activity-based working -- an office layout that is also open but involves much more flexibility. When designed well, an activity-based workplace environment allows employees to pick the space that best fits the type of work they want to get done at a given time.
When you think of a typical office environment, most people picture cubicles, private offices, and boardrooms that seem to stretch on forever. You may work best in this type of workplace environment if you’re introverted or are accustomed to a typical workday routine. These types of offices work best when a company finds value in organizing their employees in a hierarchical manner (think: executives get private offices and immediate access to meeting rooms).
Advantages of closed office setting:
Drawbacks of a closed office setting:
There’s a reason the open office trend took over by storm. Many employees didn’t appreciate the lack of transparency created by physical barriers in a closed office environment and wanted more opportunity to socialize and collaborate. That being said, the move to open offices was generally perceived as too extreme and introverted employees became overwhelmed by a constant barrage of visual and auditory distractions.
So what’s the happy medium? There are ways to bring the privacy, comfort, and customizable nature of the closed office to a more flexible workplace environment. Activity-based working balances the need for autonomy and transparency by offering employees the option to choose where they want to work depending on the specific task they want to complete at a given time. Based on your past work experience, you might be most comfortable in a closed office setting. However, flexible work has experienced significant growth recently in the US, so, with the right change management tactics, it could be worth considering.
Whether you work remotely for your company, work freelance or under contract, or are trying to get a new idea off the ground, you value the flexible and temporary nature that coworking solutions provide. Coworking spaces are similar to activity-based working environments in that they often provide a variety of spaces meant to accommodate different types of organizational needs. But, they also have the added benefit of providing a community so if networking or external opinions are important to your work, coworking could make a lot of sense for you.
Advantages of a coworking setting:
Drawbacks of a coworking setting:
With major providers like WeWork, Convene, and Knotel looking to provide professional communities with high end spaces designed to bolster productivity, it’s no surprise coworking is on the rise. You probably work best in this type of space because you’re part of a young company in a development phase before laying down roots in your own office space. If you work well in a coworking space -- an amenities-rich space with a variety of workspaces provided -- it’s likely you and your colleagues would enjoy an activity-based work environment once you expand.
You likely excel in a remote work setting because you gather energy from yourself instead of from the presence of coworkers around you. Location or networking possibilities don’t currently factor in the success of your job. You appreciate your own space and privacy and would rather not have to share office resources with colleagues. As technology has evolved with more portable devices and improved video and phone conference abilities, remote work is a full-time possibility for many people today.
Advantages of remote work:
Drawbacks of remote work:
As technology continues to improve, remote work will only become easier for more of the workforce. Working remotely takes a specific type of person, however. Generally, you need to be very self motivated, self starting, and manage time exceptionally well to be successful without the structure a more typical workplace environment naturally provides. If remote working is for you, make sure your next company is equipped to help remote workers excel, including planning for everything from day-to-day logistics to career advancement.
For your job, do you need to physically be in the office to be successful?
Do you like the presence of others around you at work?
Would you say your role is complex, meaning you do many types of activities throughout the day?
Can you cope with open office distractions by using solutions like dividers, sound buffers, headphones, or signals to indicate focused work time?
Do you like having control over how, when, and where you do your work throughout the day?
Do you prefer working in a traditional office setting where seating configuration indicates seniority level? I.e. private offices for executives and cubicles for all other employees.
Would your work benefit from potential in-person networking opportunities?
Are you comfortable sharing office spaces and resources with other people?