The Debate on Open Plan Offices

Transforming open work spaces: A Vision for the Future

Imagine the vibrant 1930s Manhattan Waterfront. Picture a place where limitless possibilities and enchanting architecture come together to create a space that inspires and prospers.

As we navigate the post-COVID landscape, the concept of returning to the office has become a complex and multifaceted discussion. The days of stringent corporate moulds are behind us. We must slow down, consider the well-being of our colleagues, and adapt to a new way of living and working.

Over the past 20 years, office environments have evolved, but the pandemic has highlighted the need for further transformation. From biophilic design to flexible working arrangements, we must prioritise spaces that foster creativity, well-being, and community.

In my experience, maintaining a tidy and well-kept office is crucial. It not only enhances productivity but also reflects a commitment to quality. We should embrace the wisdom of our experienced colleagues who understand the importance of doing things right the first time.

For the mid-career professionals, it's about pushing for meaningful change despite the challenges. And for the newcomers, hybrid working must become the norm, with anchor days that facilitate education and knowledge sharing.

Let's turn workspaces into places where everyone—from the seasoned professional to the fresh talent—can thrive in an environment that balances tradition with innovation. A place that stands as a testament to what we can achieve when we work together towards a brighter, more inclusive future.

It's time to reconsider the purpose of office spaces, questioning why we physically go to work and what we aim to achieve there.

Here are some suggestions for enhancing the office environment:

  • Introduce phone charging stations to address the distraction of mobile phones and ensure they are always powered up.
  • Implement sleep stations to offer a place for short rest periods, boosting productivity and well-being.
  • Set up recycling stations to promote sustainability and a greener workplace.
  • Consider temperature control options to cater to individual preferences, ensuring a comfortable working environment for all.
  • Install motorized blinds for optimal screen visibility and to regulate natural light.
  • Provide noise-cancelling headphones and noise-free booths, along with music pods for those who work better with background noise.
  • Consider the psychological impact of office design and colour schemes, as well as the importance of personal finance support for employees.
  • Reevaluate the concept of open office spaces, considering research that suggests their negative impact on productivity and well-being.
  • Create personality or productivity hubs to align job functions with individual strengths and preferences, promoting better collaboration and efficiency.
  • Tailor office improvements to suit specific industry needs, such as finance, design, or construction, to optimize the workspace for each sector.

Let's rethink the traditional office setting and explore innovative ways to enhance workplace collaboration and productivity.

If you're thinking about renovating your office, Mary-anne offers a fresh perspective with her diverse experience across different industries and office environments. Contact her at