There seem to be more advocates for open-plan offices than for closed and/ or mixed plan offices. Amongst all the arguments in favour of open-plan offices, ease of collaboration and a greater degree of creativity seem to be at the fore. Well, if that is so, then many offices resemble Tactical Operation Centres, and I am not restricting that description to military-type Operation Centres. Is your office like that? Well, take a look around the edges of the Tactical Operation Centre. What do you see? Don’t know? Go take a walk and find out! You just might see a Personnel Support Cell, whose members are buried up to their ears in the details of their work. The situation picture is up there for all the world to see, but it’s in the BACKGROUND. The members of the Personnel Support Cell are kept abreast of what is happening, but that is not their main FOCUS. Look around some more. You might find a Logistics Support Cell somewhere, too, whose members are also like the members of the Personnel Support Cell – focused on their work, but keeping the situation picture in mind. You would probably find similar scenes in the Financial Support, Future Plans, Legal Support, Risk Analysis and whatever other Departments, Branches or Business Units you happen to have.
In short, your best bet would seem to be having a mix. Some parts of your office on an open-plan concept, but with others providing spaces where focused, heads-down work can actually get done. Hey, even Heads of Tactical Operation Centres need quiet spaces to think in every 24 hours or so. Trust me, I know!