Why Co-Working and Open Plan Offices Work

There’s been a lot of press recently around the negativity of co-working and open plan offices and how people that work in these environments are less productive, less happy and the list goes on and on.  I’m sure you’ve read how the worker next to you eats a tuna sandwich every day at his desk and that smell permeates through the rest of the office, not to mention your work attire for the day.  Or about the guy that sits 5 desks down who decides to talk to his counterpart sitting on the other side of the office by simply standing up and calling over to her.  Sure, this stuff happens.  And it happens a lot.  But in no way does this make and open plan environment a bad or smelly place to work.

We’re lucky to have a pretty great space here in Palmerston North, New Zealand called The Factory.  It’s an old historic building that was transformed into Palmy’s first co-working space back in 2015.  It houses over 45 residents and over 15 companies, has a killer coffee spot called The Lounge and encourages a collaborative environment with both walled offices and its co-working space, The Engine Room.

Over the next few months, I’ll be talking to the residents of The Factory and getting their take on all aspects of working in an open plan environment.  I’ll be focusing on a few key components –

  • Collaboration

  • Communication

  • Flexibility

  • Dismantling the Hierarchy

  • Culture

  • Neighbourhood Design

Each of these topics individually doesn’t make a space great to work in.  But together, they enhance your daily 9-5.  They increase work flow, team talks and most importantly togetherness, or what I call, neighbourhood design.

Check back soon…I’m looking forward to dismantling the negative myths around co-working and how this type of environment is just a fad!