Open office Layout: Still Surviving or Already Dead
Posted on July 26, 2018
We are in constant pursuit to understand why office layout matters. Different minds different perceptions, but the harsh truth is that once a dominated workplace design is surviving really hard to sustain in the existing market. Supporters say open floor plans provide opportunities for collaboration, improve transparency, eliminate many emails and phone calls, and encourage employee relationships. Cost savings and attracting millennials are also factors for some companies. Detractors claim that they increase distractions and decrease productivity. Some CEOs, according to The Wall Street Journal, think the open office trend has gone too far.
However, an ongoing research discovered concrete evidence that open offices decrease collaboration. It is said that between 20% and 40% of open plan office occupants expressed high level of dissatisfaction in privacy and over 20% of all office occupants, complained about their dissatisfaction. The traditional alternative to open offices, cubicles, are not perfect either.
Another revolution when modern coworking first started, between 2005-2008, most offered open workspace only. The open office debate has been around long before coworking even started. And yet even with evidence pointing to the downsides of open plan layout, many companies and flexible office spaces continue to believe in the power of coworking spaces. As more professionals accepted coworking spaces and market needs and demands changed, many office space providers realized the added value of offering more private space as well; giving rise to the hybrid model. Which means that it is unlikely to die out anytime soon, especially when we look at the potential growth of the coworking industry.
Pros of Open Office Layout:
- Increased Communication – When there is no physical obstruction, employees are more likely to communicate with one another and work as a team. As a result, improved communication boosts team effort between various levels of employees, so even professionals at higher posts can be easily approachable.
- Adaptability – With an open-office plan, you don’t have to focus on a single layout. Open work spaces are designed to maximize flexibility. You can also fit more employees into an open space. As the office grows, you can rearrange the layout however you see fit, or simply move certain teams around. In traditional layouts, you would have to expand the office by renting multiple floors or buildings.
- Trendiness – While the open-office layout started as a creative trend, its lasting power is undeniable. Since so many big companies like Facebook and Google have switched to open offices, businesses stuck in the cubicle age can appear behind the times. When you meet with fellow business owners, clients, and vendors in your open office, you leave a positive impression on them. Holding a meeting in a traditional office will suddenly appear stuffy and dated to anyone who works in an open-office layout.
Cons of Open Office Layout
- Ruining Privacy – Most of the professionals in favor of cubicles tend to reject the open-office concept because it doesn’t offer any privacy. When you’re working next to several other people in close quarters, it’s true that you can’t make a private phone call without someone overhearing, but many co-working spaces account for this issue by offering private phone booths in their center.
- Stress – Given their lack of privacy and increased distractions, open-office spaces can be more hectic for employees working in such offices. It is proved that open offices tend to cause age discrimination because older workers are more likely to deal with anxiety, cardiac issues, and digestive problems from the stressful environment. When this happens, they quit.
- Distractions – This is the greatest downside of an open office. The person can feel multiple unwanted noise happening around throughout the day, both in person or on the phone. You may even start to notice a co-worker’s annoying little habits, which can draw your attention away from your work.
This isn’t to say that cubicles provide distraction-free work environments. On the contrary, they can be just as loud, but cubicles do provide a sense of privacy that can make it easier to focus.
Author: Anvesha Sharma