The open office layout. While it can be trendy, it’s not for everyone. In fact, it seems to be either championed or despised. If you and your company are considering making this shift to your workplace environment, consider the pros and cons of working in an open office layout.
1. Better Communication Among Workers
In an open office layout, employees have an easier time communicating with one another and working as a team. This, in turn, boosts collaboration efforts among all levels of the business, from entry-level employees to management.
2. Lower Costs
An open office layout is more cost-effective than traditional cubicles or private offices, because there is less overhead to deal with. When a company isn’t worried about buying large individual desks and cubicle walls, they can focus on more important technology-driven items, as well as employee-driven areas.
An open office layout also tends to be more energy efficient, so a business would also save money on utility bills.
Another pro of working in an open office layout is that a business doesn’t have to commit to a single layout. Because an open work space provides flexibility, you can fit more employees into it. If your team grows, you can rearrange the layout easily and move certain things around that would have been more difficult in traditional layouts.
4. Aesthetically Pleasing
Many open office layouts capitalize on trendy vibes that you wouldn’t find in a cubicle-filled space. An office feels less confined and larger in an open layout. That helps employees feel like there is more room to breathe, which can increase creativity and productivity. The open office concept also increases natural light since there are fewer walls.
5. Greater Interaction and Teamwork
Not only do open office layouts promote better communication, but it can also increase personal interaction. Bonds develop between coworkers as the communication increases, which can have a huge impact on feeling great about your work environment. Research has showed that having just one close friend at work makes you more likely to stay. That’s huge in today’s competitive work environment!
There is no more competition for the “good office or cube”. And when company leaders are even in the open office layout, it can help them seem more approachable and personable. Who wants to deal with intimidating management that nobody ever interacts with?
This may be one of the largest drawbacks of an open office layout. If you already have a hard time staying focused, this is going to make things even more difficult.
It may be beneficial for businesses to set up quiet spaces where distraction-free work can occur. While this may seem counterintuitive to eliminating cubicles and offices, there will be times when having a quiet space will be needed for various meetings or for an employee to find a space to concentrate.
Similar to distractions, one of the biggest complaints in an open office layout is the noise. From phone calls to people brainstorming in open meetings, it can get to be too much.
3. Lack of Privacy
You know the feeling. You’re in the zone, you’re accomplishing big things, than someone comes up behind you and wants to chat. Ugh! Suddenly your concentration is gone and it’s impossible to get it back.
And let’s face it. We all need a little ‘alone time’, whether it’s to make a quick personal phone call or just to privately vent about an office issue that you don’t want everyone else witnessing.
Employees may also feel the need to constantly appear to be productive, which can lead to an increase in multitasking. This can lead to frustration and ineffectiveness as people hop from one task to another, without finishing any. Nobody wants to feel paranoid because they think someone is constantly looking over their shoulder!
It’s no secret that when someone in an office environment isn’t feeling well, another is bound to contract the illness sooner or later. Without walls and cubicles in the way, an open office layout is even more likely to spread germs to people.
Overall, it is completely up to each organization for how they can best find ways to have their staff work collaboratively, develop relationships, and be productive. Some cultures will find that an open office layout is exactly what they need to foster these benefits. Others may see that an open office layout may be more stifling, than beneficial. Hopefully these pros and cons will help you to see how an open office layout may work in your office space!