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The Open Office Design isn't Dead - Here's Why it Still Works

01 February 2023

Open office design is the latest trend that an increasing number of offices are seen adapting today. Open office plans offer numerous benefits to both employees and employers where the traditional offices were starting to fall short. But nothing can be perfect, and neither are open offices.

Although open office design offers numerous benefits, there are some downsides, which have resulted in many people showing resentment towards it. Some argue that open office design has more downsides than pros, but we don't believe that.

Yes, open offices have a fair share of cons, but it still works for many businesses. Many businesses are still enjoying the perks of open-office plans.

This blog post is all about why we think open office design isn't dead and why it still works for many.



What Makes Deciding on the Best Office Design So Difficult?

The choice between a traditional office and an open office design shouldn't be so difficult, only that it isn't. The primary reason for this confusion is the fact that not all employees are the same. The varying individualities of employees at a workplace are a factor that an employer should consider.

Some employees prefer to work in an open office space, while others prefer a quieter cubicle.

The only way to address this challenge is to design the office to cater to all employees' needs. If you're planning to opt for an open office design, make sure to include some quiet rooms and meeting rooms that employees can use if they want to work in silence or make a private phone call. Whatever office design you choose, ensure that it doesn't become a cause of discomfort and frustration for your employees.

Your office design should offer flexibility to the employees, have the right noise control measures in place, and provide unhindered access to all the resources the employees need to work efficiently. The office design must be functional and aesthetically appealing. The ideal office design is the one that ensures employee well-being; physical, emotional, and psychological.



Why Do Some People Dislike Open Office Design?

Before we can discuss how open office design benefits employees and employers, it's important to look into why some people have started to dislike open office design.

We agree that there are some cons of open office design but what matters is whether these cons outweigh the pros.

Below are some downsides of open office design:

Noise

You can't deny that the workspaces that feature an open office design are noisier than traditional ones. Since all the employees are sitting together without any partitions or walls, all the conversation among the employees creates a lot of noise that might make it difficult for employees who wish to work in silence to focus. Then there's noise from the ringing of the phones, conversations on calls, etc. All of this affects employee productivity and efficiency big time!

Distractions

Not having a dedicated space in the office results in plenty of distractions throughout the day. You'll have someone come over to your workstation every now and then which might break your attention span. Having people walk past, engaging in lively chatter, or simply being in close proximity might distract some employees and make it difficult for them to concentrate on their work.

Lack of Privacy

Working in an open office also offers no privacy to the employees. You simply can't talk to someone over the phone in private with people all around you. Not only does talking over the phone become uncomfortable, but there are also many work-related matters that you would prefer to discuss in private. Having your manager scold you over a mistake with all your coworkers watching is plain embarrassing!

Lack of Ownership

Most open offices don't have dedicated workstations for employees. Employees can work from any available workstation. While this gives employees a chance to enjoy different parts of the office and stay fresh, it also results in a lack of ownership. They don't feel like it's their place. With a lack of ownership comes compromised organization of tasks and reduced efficiency.

Increased Chances of Error

With so many distractions and noise around, it can be very difficult to complete tasks that require absolute focus, like finance, without errors. The chances of error increase by several folds in the case of older employees who aren't used to working in an open office environment.



How Open Office Design Continues to Benefit?

Open office design continues to benefit many employees and employers even though there are numerous downsides. There are many reasons why so many offices today feature an open office design. If you ask us, the pros of open office design outweigh the cons.

Increased Collaboration

One of the biggest challenges that people working in traditional offices face is the lack of collaboration. They've got to email their coworkers for everything. Employees don't get to spend too much time together, and as a result of this, they're not very comfortable and frank with each other. However, when you're working in an open office, the employees are able to work together more comfortably. There's an increased collaboration which improves the overall team productivity and efficiency. Now, employees don't have to wait for their coworkers to respond to their emails. Instead, they can casually walk over to their coworker's workstation and get things off the desk sooner.

Enhanced Networking

Everyone is more approachable when the employees aren't seated in dedicated cubicles. There are no segregations among departments, and everyone is seated in the same hall. This enhances networking. Employees get to interact with people from different departments and form relationships that weren't possible in a traditional office design. Better networking means better corporate relationships, which means there will be fewer bottlenecks and, therefore, fewer delays.

More Relaxed Workplace Environment

Back in the day, offices had an aura of formality and strictness. You couldn't stop by your coworker's cubicles for a casual chat. The bosses expected their employees to work continuously throughout the time they were at the office without wasting any time. As a result of a strict workplace environment, the employees were on edge most of the time. What's worse is that the employees are constantly scared that their manager would be mad if they found them relaxing. All of this had a direct impact on employee morale and mood.

But this has changed with open office plans. The employees can chat with their coworkers, have a good time at work, and take breaks to relax without worrying about upsetting their managers because that's how open offices are supposed to be!

When the workplace environment allows the employees to relax and have a good time, employees will work with more dedication and commitment. The employees will feel good about working at such an office, and that'll be reflected in their performance.

Saves Operational Cost

Another major benefit of opening offices to employers is how they can help save money. Setting up an open office is cheaper. You don't have to build separate rooms for each department. Building separate rooms with wall enclosures, doors, and windows cost much more than setting up workstations in an open office. You don't even have to provide separate equipment like printers, scanners, and photocopiers for every department. You can have one of each piece of equipment arranged in one place in the open office where everyone can access them.

In the case of cubicles, the only source of light is the lights installed in the office. To ensure adequate lighting in each cubicle, you've got to install plenty of lights that can add up to the energy expenses. The lighting of the open office design is less complicated. You can install the right ceiling lights and provide all employees with a task lamp for their workstations. If you could incorporate lots of windows into the office design, the need for additional lights can be reduced more!

Improved Aesthetics

Open offices look more aesthetically appealing than traditional offices. They look bigger, spacious, less congested, and a lot brighter. Open office design gives workplaces a more modern look. The improved aesthetics make the employees feel good about their work. When the employees feel good about their workplace, they'll work with greater commitment and dedication and deliver better results.

From another perspective, open offices look more appealing to clients and new prospective employees who come in for interviews. Open office design delivers a good first impression on employees and clients.

Closing Word

The open office design is far from dead. In fact, the trend of open offices is at an all-time high at present. We can't turn a blind eye to the cons of open office design, but the pros outweigh the cons. Open office design improves collaboration and engagement among employees, makes the office environment less formal and more friendly, and results in enhanced productivity and improved employee satisfaction.