Why We Stand With Mark Zuckerberg
Critics say that open floor office spaces violate employee privacy and create disruptive and less productive workplaces. However, supporters argue that this simply isn’t the case. Silicon Valley has spearheaded the trend of bringing down office walls. Google, Yahoo, eBay and American Express are all advocates. Mark Zuckerberg recruited renowned architect Frank Gehry to design the biggest open floor office that accommodates close to 3000 engineers. Just this month he released a live video explaining why he made the choice and gave viewers a virtual tour. Additionally, earlier this year it was revealed that up to 70% of businesses in the U.S have adopted open floor office spaces too, so what gives?
Some benefits are obvious like more space at a lower cost, however, Michael Bloomberg, one of the front runners of the trend, believes that it also encourages fairness and transparency. When Bloomberg became mayor of New York he brought the concept with him, making the bull pen an emblem for communication and accessibility to the city’s leader.
As Mark Zuckerberg guided viewers around Facebook’s open floor office he explained “the whole idea here is that, by having an open floor plan where people work close to each other, it facilitates people sharing and communicating about what they’re doing, which enables better collaboration, which we think is key to building the best services…” and he vouches that it works.
Let’s first acknowledge that open floor offices are not for every business. They do, however, work incredibly well for companies fuelled by a sense of both urgency and innovation, and that’s why we’ve implemented it here at WME. Our team is made up of people that work well whether it’s a Monday morning or a Friday afternoon. They’re eclectic, innovative go-geters who bounce off each other’s energy and thus, an open floor plan is the perfect environment for our team to thrive in.
Why not take a tour?
The key arguments put forward by critics of the concept are largely subjective. Changing the floor plan of your office means that old procedures need to be revisited and change is often necessary. Anyone who thinks that a new office layout will bare instant results is naïve, like any change to business there will always be a period of transition. How successful and quickly your employees adapt to their new surroundings weighs largely on how your company tackles any problems that arise during this time.
Some of the strategies we’ve implemented to boost productivity within our open floor office is through communication, mutual respect and encouraging our employees to collaborate with each other and learn from one another. Our team has an invaluable opportunity to work with some of the industry’s best and working in an open floor office provides a chance to mix with individuals that might not have been available to them before. Much like Mark Zuckerberg, our CEO also sits amongst the thick of it. General Manager Ray Milidoni backs this saying “The everyday presence of the leader at the helm of our agency has helped us to cultivate a strong sense of unity that, we believe, sets us apart from other agencies…” and we collectively concur.