Open Office vs Closed Office Space – A Short Guide

One of the leading questions you may be faced with when planning and designing your office space is open or closed?

 

The answer to this is different for all businesses and dependant on a variety of factors – What is the function of the space? What do you want your space to portray? Do you want a collaborative environment or an independent office space? As there are no simple one-size fits all solution we have a comprised a short guide to choosing the right office space for your business.

Open Office

+ Positives – Community | Communication | Culture | Cost-friendly

– Negatives – Chaotic | Public | Unproductive

 

An open office space in simplistic terms refers to the use of large open areas to minimize the use of small enclosed office rooms. Open offices originally pioneered in 1950’s have recently regained their popularity as the chosen layout for many businesses for a variety of reasons including;

Firstly, employees are opting for an open space layout as these designs can minimize various costs within the office, such as reduced construction fees, the ability to squeeze more people into less square footage and fewer cubicle furniture pieces to purchase.

Secondly, businesses believe that an open space office can create greater company culture, can encourage communication between employees – consequently improving interpersonal relationships and can contribute to creating found a community atmosphere.

Open office layouts encourage collaboration, teamwork and creativity and have gained recognition as a favourable layout for companies that operate from employee participation and innovation such as; advertising agencies, graphic design companies, journalism newsrooms and marketing agencies.

Though open layouts are of high demand and of favour for many, the open office concept has received backlash and disapproval from businesses which require quiet working areas, confidentiality and concentration, such as accounting firms, financial planning agencies and law firms. Commonly, open layouts can be noisy, chaotic and lacking strict organisation which can impact employee productivity and well-being by increasing stress levels.

Closed Office

+ Positives – Community | Communication | Culture | Cost-friendly

– Negatives – Chaotic | Public | Unproductive

The term closed office, or otherwise known as enclosed refers to an office layout that is centred round individual working spaces for individual employees using panels and cubicles. Closed offices have come along way through the decades, from the adoption of what can be described as the ‘cubicle farms’ which broke through office trends in the 1980’s to the contemporary, acoustically sound and comfortable spaces that are used today.

Closed offices encourage concentration and focus as commonly they are distraction free environments which reduce noise and bustle which may reduce productivity. These private spaces also allow employees the free to personalise their desk space, to one that is comfortable and a reflection of their ethics.

Enclosed spaces state a hierarchy system, which consequently promote healthy competition between employees which is fundamental in company growth. If the closed office layout includes different spaces for different level employees – such as corner offices; this can give employees motivation and something to work too.

Thought statistics suggest that employees have increased well-being and productivity in closed office spaces, employers do not necessarily favour enclosed office layouts. With employees working in confinement and privacy, it is hard for business owners to supervise whether workers are wasting time or working to their full capacity.

For businesses which require team work and collaboration – closed office spaces are not ideal. Employees working in this environment tend to reach colleagues via email or chats rather than communicating face to face – which can negatively impact innovation and inspiration.