Pros and cons of an open workspace

For many of us, even the mention of converting to an open office elicits feelings of excitement. This is understandable, since the design represents a transition away from the dull, box-like cubicles that dominate movies such as "Office Space." Open office layouts are said to promote communication, increase inter-departmental collaboration and foster a heightened sense of community amongst all employees. While all of these things may be true, these innovative layouts don't come without drawbacks. If you're considering converting to an open office, you'll want to take a look at these advantages and disadvantages:

Pros of an open office layout
There are a ton of positive qualities open office layouts offer. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Open office layouts can increase communication among employees from all departments of your business. When you have members from all different departments of your company in one common, open space, conversations between different types of professionals can start organically. This will foster a general increase in communication at all levels. 
  • There's no denying that building an open layout into your office can help to foster a sense of community. This is particularly true if you have the kind of workplace in which individuals commonly have to work past the normal 9-5 schedule. People are far more likely to stay into the later hours of the day if they can see that their co-workers are making the same commitment. Being able to visualize other employees working towards common goals can provide a strong and invaluable sense of unity.
  • One of the less recognized benefits of an open layout is that it allows for the creation of a blended image. In businesses where individuals have their own offices, you often find that the decor clashes strongly from one area to the next. With an open space, every member of your company can contribute to the common image.When you purchase furniture from Office Designs, you can also take advantage of our Space Planning Service, in which one of our decorating experts will help you to make the right space planning decisions for your workers!
Open office layouts may increase communication and productivity.
Open office layouts may increase communication and productivity.

Cons of an open office layout
Unfortunately, it's not all rainbows and sunshine with open office layouts either. They can offer their fair share of detriments to your employees:

  • With open layouts, you're far more likely to experience your employees complaining about a lack of proper organizational ability. While normal desks and cubicles can be somewhat drab, they do offer a more orderly environment, which open offices typically cannot.
Noise levels in open offices can hamper productivity. Noise levels in open offices can hamper productivity.

Admittedly, there's no simple answer to which office layout is right for your company. However, companies that go with an open office design may need to make a few concessions to ensure success. For example, it may be beneficial to establish a designated 'quiet area' in which employees can relax on contemporary office furniture and work silently.

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