Open office floor plans are becoming more and more common, and with larger companies such as Facebook, Google, and Apple employing them that trend appears here to stay. But, does the open layout yield greater benefits than the traditional private office option? There are pros and cons to both options, and what it comes down to is a question about your company culture, and which layout works best for your team.
An open design has the psychological effect of placing everyone on the same level. Without walls and closed doors to separate the team everyone is equal. By bringing down the physical walls, you will also bring down the walls to collaboration and teamwork. If your business is one which can benefit from these advantages, then an open layout may be right for you.
However, an increase in teamwork will result in more noise and distractions which may not be a fit for your team. Some sectors rely on the innovation and productivity that collaboration grants as a foundation of their production model, and, to them, the noise is a welcome nuisance for those benefits. You will need to consider that trade-off for your own business.
The private office layout has been the traditional model for centuries. The actions of climbing the corporate ladder are entwined with metaphors relating to this, e.g. 'the corner office.' The notion that with promotions and increased responsibility you gain office space is what we are all used to experiencing and, it certainly has its benefits. The potential for focus is greater when an employee has a quiet office that they can retreat to and shut out the distractions that would be present in an open office layout.
However, a private office with walls and a shut door can build up the psychological barriers to collaboration and teamwork. Often employees may have a unique idea, but have issues overcoming knocking on the closed door. The separation between employees doesn't necessarily snuff out the production gains received from collaboration, but it may make it more difficult.
Ultimately it is a question relating to your business' culture and your team. A careful consideration of the pros and cons will indeed lead to the right answer. Give us a call if you are unsure about what would be best for your company.