I thought having my own office meant I'd 'arrived,' but it was depressing. Here's why open-plan office layouts are best.

I began my career in 2003 as a summer intern with a small desk in a hallway. Another intern had their own cubicle with high walls that resembled a mini office, and I couldn't help but feel a twinge of jealousy. Over the next 10 years, I worked in various environments, including high-walled cubicles, open office floor plans, and eventually, my own office. However, I found that the true benefits of cubicles are their ability to provide privacy and deep work.

I worked in a financial services company in 2006 when I received an email about the death of someone I was close to in high school. Thankfully, I had a bit more privacy at that moment, nestled away in my cubicle. However, I found that cubicles can be isolating, and executives and leaders often had offices with windows, giving them a sense of exclusivity.

When I finally achieved my own office in 2015, I thought I had arrived. However, I was miserable. There was no natural light, and I struggled to connect with colleagues. I realized that having my own office wasn't everything I thought it would be, and I missed the collaboration and camaraderie of working in an open environment.

I now work in a coworking space for a company I consult for. It has an open floor plan with several conference rooms, telephone booths, and seating areas. I believe that open office plans are the clear winner in a modern workplace, but they can benefit from incorporating elements of cubicle design to provide areas of privacy and different types of work. Managers still need privacy, and soundproof booths in a hallway can provide the necessary level of privacy. Additionally, open-plan offices can offer natural light, which is often reserved for senior and executive leaders in traditional offices.

Overall, I believe that a well-designed office space can greatly impact the work environment and productivity of employees. By incorporating elements of both cubicles and open-plan offices, companies can create an environment that fosters collaboration, creativity, and productivity.  

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