Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Open Office? Not in Construction.

This morning, I was on the phone with one of our service providers. There was a question about our account that required me to speak with a representative…And after hearing at least three other conversations in the background as we talked, I’m confident he was sitting in the open office environment that’s become a standard in certain places.

For some, it works. Our friends in the architecture field, for example, might benefit from the shared space, where they can easily collaborate. I’m reading about all kinds of structural tweaks for privacy when it’s needed, from white noise generators to headphones, plants, temporary dividers and sound proof booths that one can use for important calls.

But construction is by nature noisy. We jokingly call the wing where I sit along with several others “the loud wing” because of the lively conversations that take place at times. The saving grace is that we all have offices with real walls where we can retreat when we need peace and quiet.

Around here, we’ve compensated with glass office fronts to show we are connected, and plenty of informal places to gather and “put our heads together” when needed. I think everyone is grateful for the ability to shut a door and knock out the work that requires concentration without the symphony of many conversations playing in the background.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.