Open Plan – The Way Forward?

Open plan offices have quickly become the adopted format in a number of office environments, especially in new companies willing to portray a modern feel. Whilst trendy and in the latest fashion, this office layout does not necessarily subscribe to all employees, so before you consider that office revamp, have a look at the good side, and the lesser good.

For one, an open plan is conducive to enhancing communication. Without physical barriers, communication takes place easily and in a facilitated manner. This improves collaboration and teamwork, whilst also making management more accessible. Such a style is also beneficial for freelancers who would otherwise work from home. It gives them the opportunity to engage with other creatives as well.

It is also cost-effective since you would not need to buy large individual desks and cubicle walls. This way you can invest the money saved elsewhere, into growing your business. In addition to this, you also have the flexibility to move around and place new employees in existing spaces. In traditional offices, one has lesser flexibility and with new recruits, one would need to consider leasing additional floors.

An open plan also appears better aesthetically, especially when considering that cubicles make us feel confined within smaller areas. Whilst they do provide some degree of privacy, they still bring about a trapping sensation and may be perceived as behind the times. When you opt for an open office, there’s more breathing space. As such, you and your teammates have more creativity in how you design the space.

One of the main downsides of an open plan office is the number of distractions. You will hear a number of discussions, both one to one and over the phone. You will also notice your colleagues’ annoying habits which can distract you from the task at hand. Obviously, you will need to develop the discipline of ignoring such distractions and remain focused.

A number of meeting rooms or meeting areas become a must: Being surrounded by a number of people within the vicinity can make it very difficult to discuss actions or matters with your colleague or superior, without being overheard. Office furniture companies today offer an array of Soundproofing systems which come at a hefty cost, but a sure solution to any important conversation.

Another downside is the spreading of germs. An employee who is sick is more likely to spread it to other co-workers, especially when considering that barriers do not exist. This may lead to a significant number of employees getting sick, resulting in a dip in workplace productivity.

Open plans provide that touch of modern and dynamic approach for today’s workspace and such solutions are mostly loved by the younger generations. It would be interesting to sit and watch the evolution of workspace and remote working as it unfolds.

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