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Open Or Closed-Plan Office Space? How To Decide

Modern meets retro in this clash of the Titans.

The layout of an office is a boss’s prerogative. It’s how he or she thinks the team will work best with the format they are in. Plus, it’s also how they like to work, as well as the aesthetics. Some people are into open-plan because it’s cool and contemporary and gives off a professional vibe. Others think it’s over-the-top and a little pretentious, if they are honest.

As the person in charge, you have to decide what the best layout is for your company. These are the talking points to consider.

Too Loud Or Just Right?

In an open-plan office, there are no walls or doors to contain the noise. The background chatter is quite intense and it’s a love/hate kind of thing. If your employees find it distracting, it’s best to try and close off space so that it doesn’t interrupt their focus. Forbes points this out in their office debate. Too many distractions will impact their productivity levels as well as their output. However, it’s important not to create a sterile environment either as it feels like a school classroom or a prison cell. A good middle ground is booths. The partitions provide cover without absorbing all the noise.

Teamwork Via Communication

Closed-plan offices aren’t very effective communication-wise. Employees come to work, keep to themselves, and barely speak to a soul before leaving. Even with instant messaging services and email, it restricts teamwork and creates cliques in the workplace. Bosses who value collaboration and communication tend to opt for open-plan spaces as they encourage introverts to interact. That allows information and ideas to flow freely throughout the office. It’s still possible to create a team ethic with a closed-plan format, but you need to expend energy by organising meetings and bonding sessions. With an open office, it happens naturally.

Minimalist Structure

The advantages of a minimalist setup are self-evident. They are easy to keep clean because nothing is nailed to the floor. So, the cleaners and a third-party such as CARRdiamond can keep the place tidy and shiny. For employees, this is a huge deal as a dirty office stunts productivity and efficiency. Plus, it reflects poorly on the company when guests visit the office. Also, minimalism allows workers to maintain a high level of concentration as there aren’t as many distractions. And, it doesn’t feel as suffocating as a result. Entrepreneurs who value these traits need to opt for an open-plan format.

Uncovered Results

When everyone can see what you’re doing, it’s easy to tell when a person is behind or in front. For colleagues, this can be a negative in two ways. Firstly, it creates unhealthy competition. Driven peers use beating their co-workers into the ground as a means to gain a promotion. Secondly, it encourages people with low self-esteem to feel anxious about their performance. In this instance, it’s better to close-off screens and desk so that employees can work freely at their own pace.

As a person in a position of power, which layout do you think is the most effective?

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

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