The True Open Concept
August 15, 2018
Best practices for office design and functionality are always evolving, even as companies continue to replace physical space with digital working environments. In 2017, nearly 70% of offices had some variation of an open floor plan, in spite of many studies exposing the drawbacks.
These findings only confirm what innovators like Robert Propst realized in the earliest days of the digital revolution: “one-size-fits-all” is the wrong approach to office design. But how do you design space that improves productivity, boosts creativity, and encourages collaboration?
While experts weigh the pros and cons of various office layouts, at XenoPsi we’re looking beyond physical space altogether. Since 1997 we’ve redefined what it means to be “open concept” by focusing not on building plans, but on building a globally distributed team.
Time Is of the Essence
Quoting Tim Williams – “Time, in the agile world, is a constraint, not a unit of value.” We work with our time to be effective. Not counting by the hour, instead with the aligned goal to get to the solution as quick as possible. For us, it’s less important to work together in the same space than it is to work together at the same time. Whether we’re signing in from Pakistan, London, Toronto, or Los Angeles, XenoPsi operates on New York hours. Synchronizing our workday allows us to move projects forward as a team while taking advantage of the best talent for the job—regardless of location—without compromising our high standards.
Communication Is Key
When modernist architects like Frank Lloyd Wright began challenging the conventions of residential and commercial space in the early 20th century, they were hoping to facilitate the free exchange of ideas and information. Today, digital technology means it no longer matters whether a colleague is a cubicle or a continent away, since it’s still easy to share ideas “face-to-face.”
It’s All About Balance
While our definition of “open concept” may be more abstract, we are very much a digital agency, not a virtual one. Our New York headquarters—which houses about half of our staff—anchors our global network. We share a combination of private offices and open common areas—the same design solution implemented by Steve Jobs for Pixar’s campus in Emeryville, California. This gives our employees both quiet spaces to focus and open spaces to collaborate.
At XenoPsi, we kick off every work week by bringing our whole team together, whether that’s on-screen or in-house. We’ve calibrated our “open concept” to capture the best of both worlds, and encourage others to start thinking beyond cubicles.
The marketplace is global and our lives are digital—our teams and workplaces should follow suit.