“Increased positivity leads to increased productivity” is a concept long accepted by professionals, yet, for years, the traditional office workspace featured drab walls and small, constrictive spaces which did little to provoke inspiration or creativity.
It comes as no surprise, then, that a major trend in office design in recent years has seen the demolition of walls and the opening of spaces to nourish collaboration and community among employees and consumers.
Not only does natural light decrease electric costs for commercial office spaces, but it is shown to have significant uplifting effects on employee psychology. An overwhelming majority of employees rate natural light and window views as top priorities when considering places to work.
In addition, natural light has been reported to decrease drowsiness, eye strain, and light sensitivity among employees, all of which are significant physiological detriments to productive work.
While open spaces offer myriad benefits to the workplace, there are times when privacy is needed to conduct meetings or complete important projects; furthermore, in the era of COVID-19, some separation must exist to ensure social distancing.
By using partition walls, offices can create transparent divisions in a larger workspace that provide effective sound and germ barriers, all while maintaining the ambiance and natural light flow of an open-office design.
As power dynamics and societal hierarchies continue to be challenged in contemporary society, more and more supervisors are moving away from assigning employees a workspace and allowing them to create areas of their own. Within a broader open environment, employees are increasingly being given the opportunity to use furniture, technology, art, and dividers, such as decorative metal screen panels, to design and arrange the spaces that best reflect their personalities and ideas for a productive workspace.