A Room without a View for the C-Suite

They say everything old is new again – and that goes for the way office buildings are being designed and laid out. For those of us in the industry, it seems like just yesterday that companies were looking for open floor plans, shared office spaces, and common areas where all employees, regardless of rank and status, could congregate.

Such equality among employees promotes collaboration and the free-flow of ideas, and is a trend that is hopefully here to stay. And while this open environment helps to attract and retain staff, it appears that some company executives (the CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, CIOs, and CMOs sitting in the C-Suite or executive row) want to go back to the days of a private office, complete with its own door.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, this tide is turning because of the need for privacy. Some CEOs are realizing that, in the absence of a space with walls to call their own, the ability to conduct a private meeting or conference call goes out the window. Communal work stations and spaces may seem idyllic, but if you need a place to quietly think, there’s no beating the good old-fashioned corner office.

In addition to the privacy factor, separate office space for C-level employees might even heighten office morale. The “family” atmosphere of shared space doesn’t consider the day-to-day state of the “head of the family.” For example, if the boss is having a bad day or if the boss has to raise his or her voice in an open environment, employees might assume there’s trouble in the workplace…and that could impact productivity.

While the communal office space concept is enlightened and likely here to stay in varying degrees, there are circumstances that exist where a room without a view of others makes sense. And the boss can still tell you that he or she has an open door policy because there is a door.