As companies strive to create strong cultures that invite employees to collaborate and innovate, some are redesigning their spaces as open offices. But what does open office mean exactly? To some, it means tearing down the walls so everyone can see one another; for others it means not having assigned seating.
Open offices are all about creating an environment where employees are encouraged to interact with each other more, thus fostering a positive employee community. Enter dPOP!, an interior design studio based in downtown Detroit. The company is taking the concept of an open office one step further by inviting anyone to work in its office once a month.
An open-office day, known as a Workeasy, reflects that the company’s values revolve around people, offices and places — where dPOP! got its name. A Workeasy can bring in up to 30 guests on a nice day or as few as five on a snowy day, according to Quartz. Guests who come to work at dPOP! for the day in the office space that was formerly a bank, but also benefit from several perks such as free WiFi and coffee.
Showcasing dPOP!’s Work
While inviting people into the office brings a new kind of energy, dPOP! also uses it as an opportunity to show off its own design work. "Many of our stranger guests have actually become clients — or we’ve become their clients — due to connections made during a Workeasy," Andrew Lemanek, a graphic design and social media guru at dPOP!, told Quartz.
Embracing the Open Office Concept
Only a handful of companies see the value in opening their offices to the public, but few do so for an entire day. DropLabs, a network of collaborative coworking spaces based in Los Angeles, holds open office hours to partner guests with a mentor to develop new skills and network with experts. Document database company MongoDB offers weekly office hours during which guests can learn from engineers and attend whiteboard and hack sessions in its six locations.
"Companies are [considering] how you cultivate community in a context that gives people connects to one another — and you see the design of space following suit," Georgia Collins, who focuses on workplace strategy as managing director of real-estate company CBRE, told Entrepreneur.
While studies have shown that the benefits of open offices outweigh the distractions, some companies are still hesitant to adopt a new way of working, especially when it involves letting strangers into a company’s secure office. dPOP! is leading the way with a revolutionary office environment, at least one day each month, but only time will tell whether other companies will follow suit.