Open-concept office: Too close for comfort?

Open-concept office: Too close for comfort?

SINGAPORE - Cubicles are fast becoming extinct in today's workplaces as bosses opt for open-concept offices that break down social barriers and let ideas flow.

Microsoft Asia Pacific unveiled its take on the concept earlier this year at its Singapore base, creating an office where staff have no pre-assigned work space.

More recently, DBS Bank also jumped on the open-concept office bandwagon.

Its new DBS Asia Central at the Marina Bay Financial Centre features an open-plan office that incorporates "social hives" - common spaces where staff can eat, relax and interact with one another.

The bank said the office helps foster a sense of community and collaboration among staff and is supposed to mimic a communal hive where ideas are shared.

Experts say offices that have few barriers encourage collaboration and are a winning idea if employees are expected to interact regularly.

Ms Geraldine Tan, a senior psychologist from the Centre of Effective Living, said implementing an open-concept office can bring benefits such as providing staff with greater access to their managers and bosses.

But she warned that such environments may not suit everyone: "It may not work if the team leader or the boss uses this to spy or check on the staff. It elicits a sense of discomfort and suspiciousness in the team."

Apart from creating fear and anxiety among employees, said Ms Tan, such an office may also lead to productivity taking a nosedive.

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.