The open plan office vs a closed office debate has held the attention of businesses for decades and is a key factor in the decision of choosing the right office space.
Are your employees more comfortable in their own, private space or does your business see productivity levels bloom in a collaborative environment? Before we can decide what works best, we need to understand the key differences between the two.
The Open Office
The lack of physical boundaries in an open office leads to improved communication; one of the key features to ensure the success of a company. Strong communication leads to valuable relationships forming, an advance in collaboration and overall performance improvement.
Money stretches further with an open plan office layout as employees are essentially sharing space. Fitting out a closed office includes outgoings such as partition walls, office doors, air conditioning units and individual desks which ramp up the set-up cost. Sharing desks, IT equipment and the space means maintenance costs are minimised as opposed to a closed office set up.
Freelancers and start-ups businesses are among those who predominantly use open plan space through a coworking structure. The ‘hire a desk’ work environment offers a range of attractive benefits, such as valuable networking opportunities. Chance encounters may occur more frequently within an open-office space, and individuals can exchange knowledge and skill sets to further progress their professional development.
Oak House, Watford
An open-plan office space also requires less commitment and is more flexible in terms of layout. It’s considerably easier to make the necessary adjustments and modifications to your office layout to accommodate your staff when your business expands. Even without business expansion, having the freedom to move furniture around and keep things fresh within the office can work wonders on your employee’s work life. A great example of well-equipped open office space is Oak House based in Watford. The three-storey office building delivers bright, spacious, refurbished space that can be easily fit out to match business requirements.
Although communication and the culture of collaboration is greatly improved within an open office space, some argue that excess noise is the biggest downside of this layout. Working in close proximity is said to encourage distractions and make one-to-one discussions and conversations a little more challenging. The lack of privacy is a contributing factor to this and can make it difficult to talk freely in a non-private environment. Yet, some companies see this as a positive as employees are less likely to be distracted with private calls and texts.
The Closed Office
A closed office layout offers a private work space where employees are subject to fewer distractions and less noise disturbance. Many companies agree that a private office allows employees to engage in focussed work and not have the added pressure of being surrounded by the entire workforce.
Northminster House, Peterborough
With a closed office, interruptions are less likely to occur too. As there is a clear sense of organisation and hierarchy, people are more inclined to solve queries and issues themselves rather than disturbing others in the company. This can be seen as both positive and negative; while this may encourage employees to gain valuable problem-solving skills, it may also cut communication which is key for a successful business.
In contrast to shared office space being a popular layout of choice for small and start-up businesses, Northminster House, Peterborough, offers small and flexible closed office space which is also ideal for SMEs. While some businesses may prefer the benefits which come from collaborative office space, other companies feel offering privacy to their staff is essential for concentration, security and productivity.
Employees may also have the added motivation to rise up the ranks in the company. For example, the higher up you are in a company, your private office space may come with better facilities, perks and even nicer views. Quality of office space is seen as key motivator to those in smaller positions within the business and sparks ambition and aspiration with a clear goal in view.
What’s right for your business?
Is an open plan office design more suitable for your business, or does a closed office fit your business structure better? As business standards change and the modernisation of the office structure is rapidly expanding, new hybrid options bring in the best of both worlds by offering private office space within an open plan environment. Frobisher House in Southampton is a perfect example of fusing the two together; while you can take floor space to create your open office environment, you can also opt for small and flexible private office space through our dedicated serviced office provider, FigFlex Offices. The fresh and innovative approach to the modern way of working is focused on what works best for your business and now more than ever, your people.