Open Floor Plan: The Pros and Cons of How Best to Use Your Office Space

Designing an office area speaks a ton about the people working in the office. The design of the office area shows what kind of atmosphere the people working in the office get and what goals the employer is trying to achieve. 

While designing office layout, several factors have to be kept in mind, especially the availability of space. Along with the accessibility to the necessary equipment and the role of different employees in the office.

What is an Open Floor Plan Office?

An open-plan office is simply a working environment in which there are no enclosed rooms or cubicles which separate one desk from another. In such offices, employees will work in the same room, often next to each other along a large, collaborative workstation.  Colleagues typically sit close to each other with the chance to communicate freely, which can be both good and bad for the company. 

Take some time to read the pros and cons of an open floor plan to know why this layout may not be the best for an office space, how it affects the employees and the company. 

ADVANTAGES

  • Collaboration
    • Bringing people together helps facilitate faster learning for new employees with others a seat away from being able to help quickly. It also builds trust and fosters new ideas. Rather than having to get up and walk over to a colleague to get some feedback on an idea, a person can merely tap the shoulder of the person next to them or sitting across. This makes idea flows quicker, filled with more brainstorming in a natural way that builds innovative ideas that companies are banking on.
  • Less Construction Cost
    • Notice how most companies have an open floor plan? One word: Cost. Office space is expensive, so companies are always trying to reduce their expenses. When you don’t have so many walls to build and rooms to plan, a significant amount of construction costs are saved. It is possible to provide more work spaces for additional employees in an open plan office. This setup is also more economical in terms of paying for electricity, heat, and air conditioning. This is also recommended for businesses that are just starting up.
  • Allowing the Possibility for Future Changes
    • Just like fashion, office layout trend changes throughout the course of time. By having an open floor plan, this layout is flexible enough to adapt to future renovations.

DISADVANTAGES

  • Excess Noise
    • As obvious as it is, the more people you have in a room, the noisier it gets. With all the conversations that each person is having with the other is (a.) annoying especially if it’s not work related. You don’t want to hear other people’s gossips; and (b.) distracting especially if you’re working on a project that needs you to stay focused. There is only so much one person can focus on at one time.
  • Lack of security
    • There’s tons of people walking around your desk at all times. You don’t always have the time to know who’s who. You’re not always on your desk. There are times that you might leave it unattended and when a file or a document, or even your phone goes missing, you don’t know who the culprit is. Suspicion arises and in this environment of mistrust between co-workers will make it nearly impossible for you and your team to work together effectively.
  • Complications regarding Privacy
    • Maybe not all of them, but most of the employees in a company are introverts. In an office manner, meaning, they can be shy about public speaking, and others don’t like asking questions or pitching ideas for fear of being laughed at, so they stay quiet instead and some person detests feeling like they are being watched and constantly judged. This may lead to having a less productive team. Another scenario is if an employee has some, let’s say, personal issues (mostly unavoidable in most offices). They don’t want their personal problems be broadcasted to their co-workers.
  • Health issues
    • One examples is an employees having a flu or a common cold that is inevitable in an office. But you don’t want them to spread it around. There may be partitions or cubicles between them but in an open plan layout, there are no walls to seclude the person who’s sick. Meaning, they are breathing the same air and if the other person or most of the staff catches it, it can affect their performance, thus, affecting the productivity of the team. Spreading of germs is a no-no.
    • This just doesn’t include the physical health of the employees but also their mental health. Stress is the one thing that companies don’t want their staff to have. But this cannot be avoided in an open office. Again, having a noisy background doesn’t just lead to an unfocused mind but it can also increase stress that can also have a long term effect in your employee’s health. When a person has a high level of stress, overtime, this can lead to serious problems like heart conditions or high blood pressure. Stress can also give insomnia and leaving employees with a weak immune system. No sleep, no productivity.

Remember that this floor plan is more than physical structure, it is a business philosophy and commitment to openness and collaboration. There are some benefits to choosing an open floor plan. This layout might work for a company that really needs collaboration within its floor. If you think that this doesn’t suit your company and its aesthetics, instead of an open floor plan, try having personal offices. All the cons of an open office can be prevented by personal offices. Personal offices can still work. It may not be as cost-friendly as the open floor plan can be but it is much better than risking your employee’s drive, motivation, purpose, productivity and health.

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