You must have sympathy for the humble glass partition. This staple feature of most office spaces up and down the land is often under-appreciated, undervalued and unassuming. Think about it, if you work in an office, how often do you look at the glass partitions within and think, “my-my, am I glad we have those in here!”. Yet there is a great importance of partitions in the public sector and other industries.
Why would you? These are just walls, like any other wall in and around the building, right? Wrong! Glass partitions contribute more to the operation and efficiency of your office space (and office team) a lot more than you’d think. This is especially true when working in the public sector, for organisations such as HMRC, The Ministry of Defence, The Department for Working Pensions and NHS Digital. Here’s LifeHacks 7 Ways to Create a More Tranquil Workspace.
Not convinced? Keep reading and be enlightened to the true value of glass partitions within the public sector, and in office spaces in general.
Achieving office zen is about ensuring the office is a clear and uncluttered mind-space for people to accomplish the best results possible. Just like Feng Shui for the home, you should manipulate the energy forces within your office environment, to harmonise the individuals inside.
Okay, so that may sound like a load of hippie nonsense to some. If you’re not in tune with your chakra or into any of that energy flow theory, stick around, this will still make sense to you. It’s not just about focusing energy but more about rearranging furniture and ensuring each team within your office is happy with their allocation of space.
The important elements to focus on here are:
To achieve a good level of office zen, you must consider all of these factors and tailor them around the people in your office and what they are trying to achieve. This way you will increase productivity, project delivery and staff happiness. Every office is different of course, so the importance and combination of each element will depend on your exact needs and preferences.
For example, your project or business model may not require the people within your team to work together so often. Therefore, your office does not require a prominent collaborative space or conference room.
The public sector at large practices Agile based development – this is how most public sector bodies operate. With agile methodology, things are more fluid rather than rigid or set; involving regular user research studies and frequent iterations to MVPs (minimum viable products).
Agile software development is an approach where requirements and solutions are allowed to evolve through the cooperative efforts of cross-functional teams. Each team may be self-organising, with responsibility over a certain element of the project at hand – whether this be content, research, development, design, etc.
This process is the opposite from Waterfall methodology or a conveyor-belt approach. Agile does not advocate doing one thing at a time in a step-by-step process. Instead, this approach allows teams to contribute towards an end goal all at the same time. So a content writer does not have to wait for a designer to finish a framework before filling in the content – they work on it together collaboratively.
This promotes detailed discovery work, adaptive planning, evolutionary development, continuous improvement and flexible response to modifications.
So, what has any of this got to do with glass partitions?
We’ve spoken about the importance of achieving office zen and how Agile development works in the public sector. The next logical step is to discuss how to achieve office zen in an Agile public sector working environment. Here is where our humble glass partitions come into play!
Public sector bodies are huge – with buildings often containing hundreds of employees. It is important to have team members co-located as much as possible for teams to work closely together. But yet it’s equally as important to have segregation and private separation too – so that cross-functional teams and individuals can also work independently when required.
Meetings, calls, demos, user research analysis sessions, conference calls – these all need their own part in the office. The finance department, the HR department, the marketing team – these also need their own little home. It is good for company morale and for productivity that these teams know each other, but without having to be involved in everything going on at the same time.
Glass partitions are the most common and effective way to establish an office layout that can satisfy all of these requirements and nuances. You can control the amount of personal space and the ability for people to collaborate with this simple addition to your office floor. It is not just a way for you to set-up your workplace, it is an opportunity for you to really affect the way the whole operation works.
This article has been written in the hope that readers perhaps change their viewpoint and attitude towards the simple glass partition. Inherently transparent, you can be forgiven for looking right through them. Nevertheless, the value and effect they can have on your business shouldn’t be underestimated.
You can control much more than just the space in which teams operate within, too. Going back to the bullet point list of elements above, lighting and hygiene are both extremely important in the ambition to reach office zen. Glass partitions allow you to control the lighting within your office, with the use of window films, graphics or completely transparent glass. They are also incredibly easy to maintain and keep clean.
Understanding the importance of a productive office set-up is the easy part. Knowing how to design your layout to achieve office zen is a little trickier. Unless, of course, you are a fabulous interior designer or have enlisted the help of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (we hear he’s short of work).
Often, it can be difficult just knowing which products to choose. Fortunately, there are plenty of retailers and commercial glazing specialists online that will not only advise the best products, but also help you design your set-up and take care of installation too. Take the time to shop around and find the best possible product and price for your requirements.
Always remember – achieving office zen will go a long way towards you achieving success!