Open office floor plans are making a comeback as startups and successful businesses alike are switching their spaces. Many do so with hopes of fostering a stronger community and innovation. In theory, an open layout can bring your employees closer together, which produces better work.
Some companies may be satisfied to see these outcomes, while others may actually see drops in productivity. The environment is everything, and your office layout is the foundation of your company culture.
Here are the pros and cons of an open layout.
Pros of an Open Office Layout
Community and Communication
Having an open layout is like establishing an open-door policy for every employee. It welcomes people to interact with one another no matter their department, seniority, or experience. Typically, the more these interactions happen, the stronger the community becomes.
An open layout can give a recent hire the confidence to ask about entering a client call and learn something new. Or, it can be what makes different teams understand each other more and establish better systems of working together.
An open layout offers a sense of accountability as well as community. Once employees have established stronger bonds with one another, they may be more likely to keep each other in check and perform well. Plus, there is less room for distractions if everyone can tell you’ve been online shopping for half an hour. Getting rid of barriers from a traditional office space eliminates such temptations.
It provides an extra incentive to focus, collaborate, and work towards the goals at hand.
Cons of an Open Office Layout
People Need Privacy
If you find yourself drawn to the idea of an open office layout, be sure to include some spaces for privacy, too. These will be vital when employees have to handle big calls, or when someone just needs a place to think. Sometimes, our best ideas come from an intense state of focus, which is hard to achieve with everyone around you.
Employees may also feel like they are being watched, or find it harder to concentrate with the increased level of noise floating around. As much as you don’t want to isolate people or create too much privacy, a balance is necessary. The right opportunities for privacy will encourage communication as needed and respect personal responsibilities as well.
Work and Play, and Procrastination
Sometimes, an open office layout can look busier than it actually is. You may walk in and see employees talking to one another and getting along well. But, are they talking about work solutions or last night’s game? Also, the sense of being watched might discourage the need to take microbreaks or just a walk around the office, which isn’t necessary for productivity.
Open layouts need a sense of balance between work and play. Some companies have seen productivity rates actually drop when switching to this setup. This often because of too many distractions, which doesn’t leave much room to get to work.
Choose the Right Space for You
Whatever the layout you decide to use in your new office, be sure it is more than just nice furniture and a view. Use the space to create an environment that will connect, support, and refresh your employees.
To best figure how to convert your office to an open office layout without losing productivity or privacy, contact us today.