Pros and Cons of an Open Office Layout

by McKenzie Chapman   Ulticareer  | Advice  | Job satisfaction  | Stress  | Management  | Work tips  | 
pros-and-cons-of-an-open-office-layout


Open workspaces are becoming more and more popular. They look nice, cost less, and have some other benefits as well. But they aren’t right for every company. Weigh these pros and cons before you decide if an open plan is right for you:


Pros


Flexibility

Without walls and a concrete floor plan, you can easily rearrange furniture to suit your needs. This is great if your company goes through changes often, or if you need to host a variety of events or meetings in your space.


Better communication

Open office space can contribute to better communication between coworkers. Barriers are literally removed—not just between workers, but between departments and supervisors. This makes it much easier to have open discussions, ask questions, and get inspired from other people.


Create a more transparent work system

Without barriers, it also creates a more egalitarian and transparent work environment. No one has to vie for a better office anymore. Everyone has pretty much the same workspace. This can make it easier for workers to approach their supervisors with ideas or questions. A more transparent environment is also more efficient since it can hasten procedures and approvals in the workplace.


Less costly

Offices with walls cost money to build, heat, cool, light, etc. It’s easier to rely on more natural light, or more limited lighting dispersing through the office. You don’t have to spend money on giving each office its own heating and cooling system. Frankly, an open workspace simply saves money.


Foster more camaraderie

An open concept office can foster team morale, camaraderie, and a sense of community. It’s much more difficult for someone to feel left out in an open workspace, and the better transparency and communication can lead to better teamwork.


It looks better

An open office floor plan is certainly trending aesthetically, and for good reason. With less walls it means you get more natural light, and bigger spaces are more pleasing to the eye than a row of boxed-in offices.



Cons


No privacy

There’s always the flipside: no barriers may mean better communication, but it also means a huge lack of privacy. If your work requires a lot of confidentiality, then an open plan office will likely cause you problems.


Sometimes you just need a moment

We’re all human and work is stressful. Sometimes, we just need a moment to catch our breath. Because an open office plan means a lack of privacy, it can be difficult to catch a moment to recollect yourself. Any emotional discomfort or frustration you feel will be on full display for the office.


Germs

Offices are ripe for spreading illnesses, especially when everyone is sharing the same space in an open workspace.


Distractions

Communication is easier, yes, but communication in an open floor plan office means talking, and talk can often mean tangents. It’s much easier to become distracted in an open workspace. Not only is talking to others easier, but you can also become distracted by the noise of other people’s conversations.


Spreading stress

Because things are more open, it can also be difficult to isolate stressful situations. If someone is in a bad mood, it will definitely spread to other parts of the office.


As you can see, open workspaces are popular for a reason. But that doesn’t mean it’s a one size fits all solution to office space. Consider if open workspace are right for your business and employees before you make the call to follow the trend of an open workspace.


Have you worked in an open workspace? What do you prefer? Share your experience by filling out UltiCareer’s survey and helping students, or anyone searching for a career change get to know what your type of job is like!

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