Gone are the days when majority of office spaces had rows of cubicles, with each cubicle securing a personal space for employees. Today, open plan offices are more common where employees have shared spaces. Over years, there have been extensive debates around personal and shared spaces in offices. Advocates of open plan offices suggest that such designs create a positive and collaborative work environment and promote creativity and innovation. However, others suggest that open plan offices increase distractions, reduce productivity and increase sick leaves taken by employees. Workspace designs have a strong impact on employee productivity as well as wellbeing and organizations are actually making efforts to maximize these. Although there are some downsides of working in an open plan office, the benefits are so prominent that more and more organizations are opting for open floors plans. However, one important thing to remember is that even if you choose to have an open space plan for your office, your design should be optimal or else the downsides would outweigh the benefits.
Let’s have a look at the benefits of an open floor plan office:
- Reduced Cost of Construction
With an open floor plan office, the company can significantly reduce the cost of construction. Not having to build a lot of walls, rooms and cubicles can save a lot of money. Open plan office can accommodate more employees and is also economical in terms of air conditioning, electricity, etc.
- Enhanced Collaboration
Breaking down physical walls in the office helps in enhancing collaboration among employees. Multiple people sharing the same office space also share more ideas and provide more inputs. Although, organizations are using many web-based tools for internal communication since long, in-person communication is always more effective as it has a psychological impact which in turn affects productivity.
- Health Benefits for Employees
Studies have revealed that employees stuck with computers all day suffer from physical as well as mental issues. An open floor plan office encourages people to get up, move around at intervals and interact with others. This helps in improving the well-being of employees. Also, such designs create a naturally healthy environment where people are not confined to cubicles or small rooms which often might feel suffocating.
- Better Work-Relationships
Relationship building is easier in open plan offices. Inside cubicles, employees usually continue working in an isolated manner and get lesser opportunities to interact with others or build work relationships. In shared spaces people are more accessible and approachable. However, sometimes, this might get distracting but it surely helps in developing common grounds for all employees.
Open plan offices have more flexibility in terms of changing or modifying existing workspaces. Adding more features or introducing alternate designs becomes easy. You never know what workspace trend or configuration may emerge in future and shared spaces give you the flexibility to modify workspaces economically and conveniently.
- Downplaying the Sense of Hierarchy
The concept of providing rooms to specific employees and accommodating others in specific cubicles often reinforces the sense of hierarchy and disrupts collaboration. Shared spaces eliminate this, promoting the idea that every single employee is important for business and effective collaboration is required for reaching goals.
A number of companies have, reportedly, benefited from open place office strategy, despite the fact that the concept has many downsides as well. And, that is the reason why the concept of open plan offices is gaining popularity. What are your thoughts and concerns regarding open plan offices? Post your comments below.