The trend for the past 35 years in office design is to move towards open plan. It uses space more efficiently and is cost effective. It can be easily reconfigured and reduce construction cost. It further also encourages team work, sharing of information, and is seen as motivational for workers.
Nearly three-quarters of U.S and Canadian workers now do business in open plan office space (Wall Street Journal online). However, occupant satisfaction with an office environment also plays a role in its cost-effectiveness.
If office conditions are poor, employees can become uncomfortable and dissatisfied, which can cancel the expected savings.
From a sensory intelligence perspective – considering the bottom line human element:
* Individuals with low thresholds, who are sensitive to noise, vision and touch will be more distracted in an open plan office environment. It will reduce their focus, attention and result in a significant drop in productivity. This is a potential poor fit of the individual within the work space.
* These individuals can benefit greatly from sensory ergonomics (see the next blog)
* Individuals with high thresholds, who enjoy busy environments, will work well in an open plan office environment. They will less likely be distracted by noise, people, or touch.

This is a potential good fit of the individual within the work space.
* Consider the effects of your open plan office space on your workforce.
* Consulting Sensory Intelligence will include:
Sensory profiling
Sensory stressor identification
Sensory ergonomics: environmental adaptations