Sometimes open plan offices aren't the answer.

Are chain curtains the key to open-plan office woes?

 

As popular as the design has become, open-plan offices aren’t winning any awards in the hearts and minds of office workers – at least, not in their current iteration. They are noisy, there’s no privacy and some studies have even shown that they reduce productivity overall. For something that’s intended to improve co-worker communication, interaction and efficiency, it sounds like it might be doing the exact opposite.

However, the open-plan office might still be saved – with the clever use of Locker Group products, of course. A few simple chain curtains could be the answer to all those employee grumbles.

Are open plan offices all they are cracked up to be?Are open plan offices all they are cracked up to be?

The issues of open plan

The key to better productivity, efficiency and workplace morale is to allow for a greater variety of different work environments.

Here are a few statements that you might find some office workers agreeing with: Open-plan offices are too noisy, disregard privacy completely and actually result in more fights between coworkers.

And they’d be right, at least according to surveys from Gesler Research in the UK as well as a paper in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. According to the former, people are sick and tired of working solely in open-office environments, and this design is actually having a detrimental effect on their work.

Meanwhile, the latter demonstrates that open-office environments, as they are now, score much lower in key environmental quality standards, including acoustics and privacy. Apparently, the benefits of the ease of interaction that open plan allows for is outweighed by the penalties that too much noise and not enough private space creates.

A change is as good as a rest

However, that isn’t the end of the story. Gesler Research’s survey also revealed a curious additional effect: It’s less to do with the open-plan office itself, and more to do with the lack of different environments in which to work. When you are unable to escape from an open office, it’s no wonder that people end up getting sick of it.

Gesler Research explains that the key to better productivity, efficiency and workplace morale is to allow for a greater variety of different work environments. Enclosed, semi-enclosed and open, all available to workers.

The difference between enclosed and semi-enclosed could be as simple as installing a set of chain curtains around one portion of desks. People can still interact through them, and you maintain that important office airflow, but it gives the illusion of a more private space. Considering how many workers seem to be calling for some kind of getaway, business owners might find that they get a little bit more out of their workforce when they aren’t chained to the open-plan design.

For more information and applications of chain curtains or other architectural products, make sure you check out our lookbook below, or get in touch with us directly right here at Locker Group.

Is better design the key to the green cities of the future?

Could a new facade help make your building carbon neutral?

 

Climate change affects us all, and we are already feeling some of the effects here in Australia. An ozone hole above our heads, stormy and violent weather, even a fair bit of rising water – it’s no wonder that people are starting to take protecting the environment more seriously than ever.

However, there is only so much the average resident of Australia can do. A great deal of the burden is on the business and industrial sectors of the country – and we’re not just talking about cutting down on the business vehicle driving.

Commercial buildings of all shapes and sizes can contribute to climate change in one way or another: poor energy efficiency, environmentally unfriendly materials, damage to the surrounding land. However, as much damage as these buildings can bring, the right design could be the key to a cleaner, greener Australia. Could a new facade for your building be part of the drive towards carbon neutrality?

Could your building be the key for greener Australian cities?Could your building be the key for greener Australian cities?

It’s time for a change

There is clearly an opportunity for business owners to reduce the impact that their business has on the environment.

Here’s the current situation: The Australian government found that commercial buildings were responsible for about 10 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2009, and those levels were predicted to increase by 25 per cent from then to 2020. We’re now on the more distant side of that prediction, so that proportion of responsibility could be that much weightier.

With that in mind, there is clearly an opportunity for business owners to reduce the impact that their enterprise has on the environment – and it could be achieved through existing technologies and better design, according to a report from the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC). It explains that the vast majority of potential energy savings available to commercial buildings by 2030 are in the realm of heating and cooling. Greater efficiency in this area makes up almost two thirds of the opportunity for building managers to reduce their utility bills, as well as their impact on the environment.

The power of Pic-Perf

You might wonder what these “current technologies” that ASBEC mentions look like – is there some product out there that could eliminate two thirds of your heating and cooling needs in one fell swoop? Some kind of futuristic, science-fiction HVAC unit, for example? The reality is a little more down-to-earth, and it has a lot to do with good design.

Pic-Perf, an addition to the Atmosphere product offered by us here at Locker Group, won’t shave off two thirds of your heating needs, but it can certainly contribute to it. Because Pic-Perf acts as a sun shade for your building, as well as improving air flow and ventilation, it could help reduce the cooling requirements of your building. That’s something that should certainly be at the front of your mind as we head into the warmer spring sun.

As a result, you draw on fewer energy resources to keep your building comfortable, increasing habitability without putting pressure on the climate or your energy bills.

Pic-Perf has more than just on application.Pic-Perf has more than just one application.

More than just green

Of course, Pic-Perf offers a great deal more than that. Not only does it block the sun, but it improves wind resistance, security and perhaps even health – the intense Australian sun being blocked from burning the inhabitants is a good thing by anyone’s measure.

But, perhaps most of all, it also improves the aesthetics of your building. Whether it’s a brand, a logo, a scene or just a pattern, Pic-Perf can contribute to the overall design of your building, making it that much more attractive to both visitors and tenants. Better for the environment, better for your wallet, better for your brand – what’s not to like?

If you’d like to find out more about Pic-Perf, or other Locker Group products, take a glance through our look book to discover a number of potential applications.