Planning Your Office Layout: Pros and Cons of Open Plan

Written on Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Considering moving into an open plan office space and wondering whether it’d be beneficial to your business? Here’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of an open plan office space…


Advantages for your staff

A lack of walls or cubicles makes it easier for your staff to communicate with one another. If your staff are able to interact on a regular basis, then the chances are they’ll be happier at work and more productive. Not only that, but an open plan office helps the team to gel, encouraging teamwork and enhancing the flow of information.

Colleagues will be able to turn to each other and quickly ask for advice, information and guidance, as opposed to having to knock on doors, schedule meetings or generally feel like they’re interrupting someone.

Advantages for your business

An open plan office space can benefit business by reducing costs associated with construction. Fewer resources and materials will be needed to create an open plan office. In addition to this, having a single work space may reduce heating/cooling and general electricity expenses. Open plan offices can also allow more economical use of space, meaning there’s more room for creative spaces or essential resources such as printers or copiers.

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Disadvantages for your staff

There are, of course, risks of distraction with an open plan space. Your office might become noisy, making it difficult for employees to focus on their work and get things done. There’s also a lack of privacy with open plan, where computer screens are easily visible to anyone walking by. Consider how you’d plan to control noise levels and disruption if you’re going to opt for an open plan office.

Another potential disadvantage, but one that can be managed, is that open plan offices facilitate the spread of germs. So if one of your employees comes to work with a cold, it’s quite likely that several other members of the team will catch it. A sensible cleaning regime, hand sanitiser on tap and encouraging staff to use sick days as appropriate can help to avoid the ninepin effect!

Disadvantages for your business

An increase in noise levels and sources of distraction can decrease levels of productivity amongst your employees. In addition to this, the lack of privacy may cause some legal or ethical issues stemming from compromised confidentiality with regards to both colleagues and clients.

Open plan offices are the norm these days, so if you’re opting for one, then you need to make sure you’ve considered the cons, such as noise levels, and have thought about how you’re going to manage them. There are a number of ways you could tackle this: for example, give your employees the freedom to wander round the office and find a quiet corner to work on their laptops – sofas, coffee table areas, libraries, private pods or bean bags.

Thinking of moving your office to a new location? Be sure to download our Office Move Checklist!


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