The Pros and Cons of Open-Plan Offices & How to Make Them Productive

Open-plan offices are becoming increasingly popular and they are replacing the traditional model of cubicle-heavy offices. Though open-plan offices are trendy and they offer a great variety of benefits, the truth is that this layout won’t suit everyone.

So, before you make a drastic change, you should be familiar with the pros and cons of open-plan offices. That’s exactly what we’ll help you with today and we will also offer a few tips on how to make this layout as productive as possible.

The Pros of Open-Plan Offices

  1. Improved Communication Among Employees

Open-plan offices don’t place any physical barriers between employees, which means it makes it more likely for them to communicate better and work as a team. Improved communication offers many benefits within itself, such as improved collaboration between employees of all levels, greater productivity, and a more open culture that leads to improved creativity, support, and a strong sense of community.

pros and cons of open plan office

  1. Cost-Effectiveness

Open-plan offices are a lot more cost-effective than cubicles and private offices, which is a big advantage. There’s less overhead involved and each employee will have the equipment and space they need to perform their duties. Furnishing private offices or buying individual desks and cubicle walls is a huge expense, while an open-plan layout is not just cheaper, but more convenient as well.

  1. Much More Workplace Flexibility

An open-plan office leaves a lot more room for flexibility because you don’t have to commit to a layout, you can switch things up. Not to mention, open-plan offices accommodate a lot more employees. So, as the office grows, there will be room to figure things out without having to change the entire layout or be forced to rent more floors or other buildings.

  1. Better Office Aesthetic

Traditional office layouts with cubicles are cramped and not at all appealing to the eye. Open-plan offices are the exact opposite with clean lines and an open, bright space that gives the office a cleaner, trendier aesthetic. While cubicles make the space look smaller, open-plan offices look and feel more spacious. This has a direct impact on the atmosphere and ambience of the office, mood, mental health, and it leads to more creativity, collaboration, and productivity.

  1. Barriers Are Eliminated

With an open-plan office, barriers between employees and supervisors are eliminated and everyone is on equal ground. This leads to more meaningful connections because employees will feel like managers and supervisors are more approachable than before. Even the founder of the company can work on the same level as his employees, which leads to more efficient communication and innovation.

The Cons of Open-Plan Offices

  1. Greater Chances of Distraction

One of the biggest drawbacks of open-plan offices is that there are many more distractions in the workplace. Because there are no barriers between workstations or employees, you will hear people on the phone, multiple conversations among coworkers, and you’ll be exposed to other people’s annoying habits, which can be very distracting. As a result, you’ll have to find ways to stay focused but everyone will also become more mindful and considerate.

  1. Less Privacy

Cubicles can be loud as well, but the truth is that they do provide more privacy, which is something open-plan offices lack. Employees will be working close to each other and there are no walls or anything between them, so having private, quiet moments will be a lot more difficult. However, this lack of privacy means that workers will be more focused on their work and keep private calls and texting to a minimum.

the pros and cons of open-plan offices

  1. It Can Become Stressful

Open-plan offices can become stressful due to this lack of privacy and constant exposure to distractions. This is particularly true for older employees, who are more likely to feel stress, anxiety, and suffer from cardiac or digestive issues due to the stress. Additionally, because this kind of layout is open, employees may feel more pressure to look busy, which can lead to multitasking and eventually, ineffectiveness. Some people even feel paranoid that others are constantly looking over their shoulders.

  1. Greater Exposure to Germs

Lastly, open-plan offices lead to a greater exposure to germs, which means it will be easy for colds, flu, and other viral infections will get around a lot easier. That may have a great impact on productivity if a majority of the staff is affected by it. Of course, there are many ways to fight germs in an environment like this, such as promoting handwashing and the use of hand sanitisers, desk sanitizing, and encouraging employees to stay home if they are sick.

How to Make Open-Plan Offices More Productive

There are many things organizations can do to make sure open-plan offices are productive and work for everyone involved. One of the most impactful things is to practice clear communication from the top right from the get-go. Transitioning from this kind of layout can be challenging, but open communication will make things a lot easier.

It’s important to understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to adopting an open-plan office. Forcing employees into this layout can be counterproductive, which is why it’s recommended to transition on a team-by-team basis. That is what works best and what leads to successful assimilation.

Every team will have clear rules and expectations, so they have a say in what makes them comfortable in this new layout. This will allow them to be more productive and it won’t harm morale or engagement. Overall, clear communication about expectations is key for success in adopting this kind of office layout.

Final Words

The open-plan office started as a creative trend, but it soon became evident that it’s a powerful layout for organizations in every field. When you have an open office, everyone is on the same level, so they are more motivated to step up their game, work together, and contribute to the organization.

If you are ready to adopt this kind of layout, will help you find the perfect office space for rent to bring your vision to life and enjoy all the great advantages!