The open office plan was a trend that started in the 1960s. Many architectural designers and corporations embraced the open plan, as some designs fostered improvements in employee productivity. The open office plan has effectively become the standard layout of most working environments. Despite the popularity of this office layout, it comes with difficulties like privacy and noise level management in large corporate offices. Many corporate leaders know the downsides of an open office plan, but it is difficult to deviate from what has already become the norm of society. Often, designers sprinkle in vibrant colors to spice up the conventional plan, but that does not solve any of the issues associated with an open floorplan. It is the vicious cycle of dodging the complication yet improving the unnecessary.
The global quarantine highlights the necessity of a healthy work environment. Millions went from working in open offices, surrounded by coworkers, to working from home alone. Office design will become a topic of research and discussion after the quarantine—is the open office that desirable? Or has it become a cliché that embodies empty wishes of creativity and collaboration?

Yi-yu (Kelly) Lu

Yi-yu (Kelly) Lu is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where she majored in architecture and business administration.
On Instagram: @kellyyylu