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Pros and Cons of an Open Office Floor Plan

21 December 2023

Back in the day, most offices accommodated employees in designated cubicles, with the manager getting the corner office with the views of the property garden. However, we've come a long way from the typical office design. Today, most offices feature an open office floor plan.

Unlike the old times when employers thought letting employees talk and mingle would affect their productivity, open offices did the opposite! It has benefited the employees and employers both, and as a result, companies that adopted the new office design got to experience massive positive outcomes that were far beyond their expectations.

But nothing can be perfect. There are downsides and cons to everything. Although an open office floor plan has plenty of benefits, it also has some cons. The question of importance is whether the pros outweigh the cons? Is shifting to an open office design worth it?

Continue reading ahead for all the answers.



Understanding the Open Office Floor Plan

An open office floor plan is nothing like the traditional offices. Instead of having numerous rooms and cubicles, all the staff is seated in a single, large, open room. Members of the same team or department are made to sit together in groups, and there's demarcation to separate the teams.

There are no walls that divide the areas for each team. Instead, the space for each team is separated by demarcations like a counter, cabinets, shelves, and plants. Even the cabinets aren't wall-high, but only high enough to match the height of the desks.

In short, everyone is sitting and working together, in the same room, just in different parts of the room!



Pros of an Open Office Floor Plan

Open offices are a trending concept today. Every other company is seen moving towards this modern office design. You may wonder what an open office design has to offer that has made it so popular that an increasing number of companies are making the switch.

Well, there's no denying that an open office floor plan has numerous benefits that are making companies revamp their workspaces.

Below is a list of the many pros of an open office floor plan.

Improved Communication and Engagement among Employees

One of the biggest reasons employees fail to meet deadlines is the lack of communication. They email their coworkers and wait for their responses. Going over to the concerned person and discussing and clearing things then and there isn't something many employees do.

However, the open office floor plan has changed the dynamics of workplaces. When everyone is sitting in the same room, the employees are more comfortable and open to communication. Employees are more likely to work as teams. They communicate and engage more, and with that, they're able to work as teams and achieve targets more efficiently.

The best thing about an open office floor plan is that the managers are sitting in the same hall as the employees, and the employee can walk over to them casually and discuss work any time during the day. The culture of knocking at the doors and asking if you may come in is long gone with open office floor plans.

It Saves Money

Another major benefit of an open office floor plan is it saves an employer lots of money. There's a lesser cost involved in office design. The money that goes into building walls and cubicles is clearly saved. The employer doesn't have to provide each team with a separate printer, scanner, photocopier, and other basic office equipment. They just need to install one of each equipment piece in the open office that's accessible to everyone working in the office.

Employers also get to save on office furniture. As far as cubicles are concerned, each cubicle needs to have a large work desk, a work chair, and at least 2 extra chairs. They also need to provide each employee with a storage cabinet. Some cubicles also have couches and coffee tables, but they're reserved for senior management.

However, in an open office floor plan, the employer doesn't have to get a separate work desk for each employee. Instead, there are identical workstations arranged across the hall. As for the storage, there's a Mesh Desk Organizer for every workstation that offers every employee sufficient space to store important documents that they need handy during work.

These factors may seem insignificant but when you consider their cumulative, you'll be surprised at how much an open office floor plan can help you save.

Offer Greater Flexibility

Open office floor plans offer a greater level of flexibility. You don't have to stick to the same layout. You can move things and teams around as you wish. For example, if the members on a certain team have increased and the area they're sitting in is too small to accommodate a bigger team, you can simply shuffle the teams around, with smaller teams taking smaller areas and bigger teams moving to more spacious parts of the open office.

Unlike traditional offices, where the employer had to buy new floors to accommodate the growing number of employees, an open office plan provides employers flexibility and peace of mind that they won't have to make such a huge investment if they hire more people. They can simply change the layout to suit the changing needs.

Makes the Office Look Open and Attractive

An open office floor plan makes an office space look spacious and trendy. Cubicles can make office spaces look small, congested, and dull. How your office looks have a significant impact on how your employees feel. If your office looks congested and dull, it'll make the employees feel gloomy and this will affect their productivity and efficiency big time.

However, if you plan the layout of an open office carefully, you can make even a smaller hall look open and bright.

Positive First Impression

An open office floor plan leaves a good first impression on prospective employees who visit the office for interviews. Since open offices look trendier, the prospective employees will get positive vibes about your office and they'll be more eager to join your company.

Let's be honest. Who doesn't want to work in an office that looks super cool? Everyone does! It definitely gives the employees something to boast about among their friends. The happier the employees are at work, the better they'll perform!



Cons

Every coin has got 2 sides. While there are so many pros of open office floor plans, there are some cons too that might make you reconsider whether you want to make the switch.

Distractions

One of the biggest cons of an open office floor plan is the distractions. Since all the employees are sitting together in the same hall where there are no partitions or walls to separate different teams, the noise from the surrounding can make it difficult to focus, especially for individuals who are involved in critical tasks that require them to focus.

The noise from the surrounding can affect the level of concentration, increasing the chances of work errors.

Higher Stress Levels

The distractions in an open office plan leads to employees missing deadlines and making errors. This can stress them out. Moreover, the thought of working in an open where everyone can see them makes them look for something to do while they're at work. They feel like if they stop working for a while to relax, people will consider they aren't working at all. This can lead to employees getting overworked and frustrated.

Older employees are more at risk of developing stress-related problems at work because they find it harder to concentrate with so much noise and distractions around. They're used to working in traditional offices with cubicles. When they aren't able to work to their full potential, they naturally feel stressed and anxious.

Little or No Privacy

There are some matters that are best discussed in privacy. You won't feel comfortable making a private phone call knowing that everyone around you can hear you. Also, you wouldn't like it when your manager confronts you about a blunder you made at work. Having said that, an open office floor plan can make employees uncomfortable due to the lack of privacy.

Puts Employees at a Higher Risk of Catching Infections

If someone in the office has a cold, everyone in the office is at the risk of catching an infection. This is because everyone is sitting together in an open office with no partitions. If someone sneezes, the germs will saturate the air, and everyone inhaling the air will be at risk of getting a cold.

Conclusion

The pros of an open office floor plan definitely outweigh the cons, which means you should most definitely consider revamping your traditional office into an open office. Not only will your office look bigger and brighter but it'll also make the employees feel fresh and lively. The happier and more satisfied the employees are at work, the more dedication they'll show in their work, and the better will be the business outcomes.

It won't be an exaggeration to say that open office floor plans offer a win-win situation for everyone!