There is perhaps no symbol more emblematic of the modern workplace than the open office plan. The (literal) corporate transparency, the egalitarian seating, and increased opportunity for shared ideas are all part of the restructure that moved VPs out of the corner office and erected glass walls around conference rooms — not to mention the fully-stocked cafes, kitchens, and even the occasional ping pong table for all to share.
The push for openness in the office is championed by some and loathed by others. People who find themselves easily distracted have to get noise-cancelling headphones, for example, and that coworker who insists on coming to the office with a terrible cough and slight fever is more of a nuisance than ever.
But, love it or hate it, the open floor plan has done one thing well: enabled connectedness in a wireless world. Because workers aren’t tethered to our desks, new communal spaces open up room for collaboration. Laptop-friendly common areas, areas to brainstorm, and even hallways designed for closer proximity give people across industries and at all professional levels more of a chance to exchange ideas — no cord necessary.