Gone are the days of office floor plans that largely featured cubicle-heavy spaces. Now, it seems open office plans and spaces are more in vogue. There are a number of reasons for this, but open concept offices don’t work for everyone. Here are a few reasons to consider the pros and cons of an open office plan carefully before bringing the shift in your workplace.
Perks of an Open Concept Office Floor Plan
The number one, and most important, advantage of an open office is that it is a great way to increase collaboration between employees. Other benefits of this plan include;
- The layout of the floor plan promotes ‘culture collisions’, i.e. chance encounters between employees
- The open office floor setup provides flexibility and cost-effectiveness for the employer
- Open concept offices make the best use of natural lighting
When the Open Office Fall Short
As stated earlier, this particular floor plan doesn’t work for everybody. In fact, nearly one third to half of the world’s population can develop feelings of anxiety due to open office layouts. Some other issues that open concept offices may include are;
- Can prove to be stressful to employees
- More employees fit into less space as compared to a cubicle type setup; thus breeding a lack of privacy
- For introverts who require a quiet space to work, the noise levels could prevent the ability to concentrate
According to a study conducted in 2014 by the Harvard Business Review, noise distractions significantly reduced (by 86 minutes per work-day) employee productivity for those working in open office plans and spaces.
Another study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, found out that office workers lost even more time, nothing that as much as three to five hours of their time was spent dealing with various interruptions.
The Open Office Concept – Success or Failure?
Although the above statistics draw a pretty discouraging picture, there’s a way that an open concept office plan can be used to promote employee productivity, creativity, and collaboration. The highlighting aspects that must be included when planning out the workspace are;
- A more collaborative workplace, i.e. seating clusters as well as standing and sitting workstations
- Completely separate and open spaces, for different activities or purposes
- Enclosed workspaces, used for quiet tasks and meetings
- Flexibility for the individual employee to choose which space works best for them at any given time
The open office floor plan is considered a truly dynamic, cost-effective, and modern trend when it comes to office and workspace design. However, when it comes to creating the perfect open office, employers must know what will work best for the both the organization and employees. While a company’s COO might approve of the cost effective nature of open concept offices, it is important not to sacrifice productivity for efficiency.