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Planning an Open Office Layout? Here’s What You Should Consider

Planning an office interior design involves much more than mere aesthetics. The worker’s comfort needs to be combined with ergonomic design in order to make business profitable for everyone. A recent trend marks the growing popularity of open office layouts. In this system, the absence of private cabins sees many co-workers share workspace and even equipment like computers and printers.

While the open workspace concept has caught up quickly with many multinational firms adopting it, the question remains as to how beneficial the system is to productivity. Here we break down the main advantages and disadvantages of this form of office interior design so that you can make an informed decision.

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The Advantages of an Open Workspace

1. Cost-Effective Interior Design

Adopting an open office concept design proves to be extremely cost-effective. More employees are accommodated in lesser space and unnecessary budget is not wasted in building walls for cubicles. Moreover, certain common resources like wifi, air conditioning, printers, and paper shredders are kept common for all, thus reducing running costs.

Open office layout is cost effective and space saving

2. Ease in Communication Lines

If you need to talk to someone, you can simply stand up and see if he, or she, is occupied elsewhere. Working together on projects and discussing deadlines becomes easier when everyone shares the same workspace. Additionally, an open workspace saves the need and cost of having individual phone lines for each employee.

Communication gets easier with an open office layout

3. Facilitates Supervision of Tasks

Supervisors have much easier time monitoring employees in an open workspace. They can supervise late comings, conduct briefings, and easily make their reports. Moreover, an open workspace means everyone’s computer screens are visible and this reduces the likelihood that anyone will play Solitaire or check Facebook, while at work.

Supervisors can monitor employee's activities

4. Fresh and Friendly Vibe

An open office layout plan reduces the constant need for formalities in interaction. An office interior design plays a key role in either intimidating an employee or making him feel at home. Moreover, a comfortable employee is a productive and a happy one. An open workspace also ensures colleagues bond easily with the new staff instead of leaving them feeling isolated.

Open office layout brings in a friendlier vibe into any work ambiance

5. Redesigning Made Simple

Expansion and remodeling are inevitable parts of office interior design. When adding more employees or changing business modules, redesigning an open workspace is much more cost-effective than working with a closed office design. No need to break down walls and doors. In most cases of redesign due to expansion, you simply need to add a few chairs and computers and you are good to go.

Simply adding chairs and computers can create an open office

The Disadvantages of An Open Workspace

1. Conflicts in Concentration

In open workspaces, office gossip between employees can distract a co-worker. This is especially bothersome if he, or she, is on an important phone call with a client or drawing up crucial calculations. The background noise ends up sounding extremely unprofessional and can also lead to unnecessary conflicts between co-workers.

Open offices can cause distractions

2. Lack of Privacy

Typing an important email to the manager, or applying for a job transfer are tasks that require solitude and concentration. In an open workspace, all eyes are on everyone’s monitor screens and this can pose a discomfort for employees seeking a few minutes of privacy for a task.

Privacy is considerably compromised

3. Security Issue

Leaving a cell phone or a handbag unattended even for a few minutes can be an issue. No doubt, most offices have CCTVs installed. Moreover, a private letter could be mistakenly picked up and read by a co-worker.

Security of personal belongings becomes an issue in an open office layout

4. Undermining Seniority Levels

Research showed that one of the main drawbacks of an open office layout was that employees often forgot to respect their supervisors and even sometimes showed total disregard. The effect of a supervisor sitting in a shut cabin instills a certain level of discipline especially among employees who are tough to handle.

A major drawback of an open office layout is the subverting of seniors

5. Personal Comforts Overlooked

Someone likes the AC low and yet somebody prefers it high. The light may be appropriate for a few employees and others wished it would be brighter. Above all, some people perform best in solitude. The design of an open office layout fails to consider the individual comforts of each employee to draw his, or her, optimum performance.

Personal preferences generally get overlooked

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Joanna D'Souza

Joanna D'Souza

Joanna is a writer and pet parent. She spends time away from work with her dog and traveling with her husband. She’s a fan of the Beatles and loves rock and pop from the 80's.

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