Office Space: Too Open or Not Open Enough - Unisan Columbus
Office Space: Too Open or Not Open Enough

Office Space: Too Open or Not Open Enough

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Open-floor offices have been all the buzz, right? It turns out, the concept has both its ups and downs.

Pros to an Open Office Floor Plan

The idea of having an open office floor plan is to create an atmosphere with constant interaction. The open concept produces sort of an evenness about the workplace –an evenness that breaks boundaries and boosts creativity. It encourages culture collisions and enhances communication throughout the office. It’s appealing to the eye and the wide-open space embraces natural light. The best part about it is that it’s a very economical option.

Doesn’t that sound like a great place to work? A place where there are no barriers and collaboration is at the heart of it all. Not so fast!
Ideas tend to sound better on paper than they play out. Through open office trials, companies found some errors. And now it seems that many employees aren’t enjoying the openness as much as companies hoped.

The Negative Effects of Open Floor Office

According to Society For Human Resource Management employees lose between three to five hours of productive time everyday due to unwanted interruptions. That number will scare any employer. Noise level factors in on the disruption in open floor plan offices. Can you imagine how hard it would be to concentrate while one person is on the phone with their vet, another person is typing very aggressively, and three people are discussing a project very loudly. How productive would you be in that type of environment?

The lack of privacy can be uncomfortable for a percentage of your employees as well. Introverts tend to work better alone unlike the extrovert that may flourish in the open space.

Contributing to the productivity level is a sickness problem many companies are encountering. Open-office workers are taking more sick days in comparison to traditional office workers. Researchers hypothesized that stress and the ease of spreading germs contributes to this.


So, what should you go with? The traditional style office or an open-floor plan.

Just because open offices did not prove to be as effective as companies hoped doesn’t mean it’s time to throw up walls everywhere. The better alternative is to meet in the middle, instead of each extreme; create both open spaces and private spaces for your employees. Each approach has its major benefits, blending them together will give your employees the best of both worlds.