The long-lasting debate concerning open office plans versus closed office spaces has many businesses considering important factors when deciding on the type of layout that will best suit their needs. How an office space is laid out holds a number of vital implications for your business, including culture, cost, communication and privacy.
However, what works for your company may not be the best fit for another, and just because a brand has been known to thrive in a particular office setting doesn’t mean yours will perform the same. Keep these four factors in mind when choosing an office layout for your business and remember to keep design in mind.
There is no doubt that office design plays an important role in company culture. The work environment affects employee attitudes, expectations and satisfaction level which all directly affect organizational culture. Open office spaces tend to win the debate as far as culture is involved, due to the fact that this type of design tends to break down hierarchies and invigorate a collaborative culture. While a closed type of space may still garner the same reactions, open spaces are more susceptible to impromptu brainstorms, comfortable group conversation and unexpected run-ins, allowing for a flexible work environment for your employees to meet and collaborate.
It can most likely go without saying that an open office floorplan is significantly more cost effective in terms of initial set-up, but also for heating, cooling and cleaning. The very nature behind an open office layout is to be able to reconfigure the space without the restrictions of permanent walls and doors. Also, offices with open floor plans allow for more employees, ultimately giving companies better value for their money on their office rental, as well as allowing the business to expand and contract with market needs.
Easy communications is one of the biggest benefits of opting for an open layout office space. Not only does this type of work environment encourage better communication and team spirit, but employees will have the freedom to bounce ideas off of each other, ask for assistance, and establish relationships with their colleagues. Fluid communication is more likely to flow through an open room, than segmented private offices. Of course, this can come with drawbacks as well, especially when sensitive information is being discussed.
When it comes to privacy, closed office spaces or work environments remain king. The open office does not translate well in terms of privacy, to combat this, a company can provide secluded rooms for meetings and phone calls. Privacy may play the most important role in the decision making process when it comes to committing to a particular office setting. The idea of having walls surrounding you while working prevents distraction and allows for a sense of security, as the fear of “roving” eyes drifting over to your work and “your space” are no longer a worry. A reduction in noise is also an added benefit of opting for a closed work environment, this type of space normally translates, for some, into more room. It usually connotes an office or larger work/office space.
For many businesses, the decision will be fairly obvious. Most companies know which type of layout will best suit their individual needs. However, for larger companies and departments, the advantages and disadvantages need to be weighed before making a decision on which would be best for productivity at work, as well as personal development.