For many business owners, the open-office floor plan has been the answer to those looking for a cost-effective, progressive, and a contemporary approach to office design. However, different work styles, age groups, and business cultures can have an effect on just how productive an open floor plan will be.
In order to achieve a balance between the creative potential of an open space and the needs of your employees, first consider the pros and cons of an open floorplan work environment:
Pro: Cost Effective
Open floor plans often come at a lower price for business owners, and are also cheaper to maintain. Costs that arise from construction, utilities, and office equipment are reduced in communal areas that can share equipment and other resources.
The flexibility that comes in open floor plans is also more economical for remodeling or repurposing rooms; fewer walls means fewer limitations and less to tear down.
Con: Stress Indusive
If your open floor plan is truly “open” without any nooks or barriers, it can cause employees to become needlessly anxious. As Fortune pointed out, it creates an environment where employees will feel as though they are under constant surveillance. This lack of privacy can make for a stressful work environment.
Introverts are often valuable team members, but may not thrive in an open environment. A strictly open layout won’t be able to offer the space and privacy some team members need to focus and do their best work.
Pro: Swift Communication
Without cubicle walls and segmented work areas of other workplaces, communication is more nimble and therefore easier to keep everyone on the same page.
This one advantage can save a lot of time in by eliminating the need to send out emails to co-workers, and also reduces the chances of miscommunication. With an open floor plan, you’re able to keep everyone in the loop by making announcements and updates to your whole team at once.
Con: Not Ideal for Phone Conversations
Having to receive and make calls can be an issue with too many employees working in the same area. Multiple distractions from other co-workers can make it difficult to carry out phone conversations with clients without being disrupted.
On the flipside, having to make phone calls with the rest of the staff listening can also make phone calls distracting, awkward, and less productive.
Pro: Better Collaboration
Brainstorming and coming together to exchange ideas is one of the biggest advantages of an open floorplan environment. Work that involves different groups working together will benefit from having easy access to all team members and departments.
If you want to create a work environment that encourages active participation from all employees, an open floor plan is deal. If you’re confident your team will thrive in a lively environment, or if they’re in a co-creative field, then having at least one open space could be a big asset.
Con: More Distractions
An open floor plan simply produces greater potential for distractions. It could be two co-workers chatting, ringtones or phone vibrations, music from another person’s headphones, someone using the printer, or any number of typical typical work procedures such as phone calls or opening packages. Work that involves concentration or strategic planning could suffer and take a dip in productivity if private work areas aren’t provided.
Pro: Better than Cubicles
If your current setup involves cubicles, then an open floor plan is definitely better. Cubicles make a space feel cramped, unattractive, and too compartmentalized, they’re also not the best solution for getting rid of noise interferences. It’s also hard to be inspired and do creative type of work in what’s known as the “bull-pen” work environment.
Creating the Best of Both
Now that you know the pro’s and cons, you can use this knowledge to create the best of both worlds in your workspace. Balance between creative, collaborative spaces and more secluded areas are key. Here at Streamline, we’re experts at designing work areas that take advantage of open spaces while working with the needs of your team and goals.