Open Plan Offices…Are They Worth It?

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Previously, we’ve discussed the benefits of open plan office design.

However, throughout the commercial world, the merits of open plan design are being questioned with increasing frequency.

For instance, concerns are being raised about the effects of noise distraction, the lack of privacy and prevalence of illness in open plan offices.

Below, we take a closer look at the benefits and disadvantages of this type of office design.


Collaboration and Creativity

On open workspace promotes collaboration between your workers.

For instance, the ease of turning to the person next to you to discuss a project means collaboration and innovation is far more frequent.

This can lead to fresh ideas, quicker completion of tasks and growth in professional relationships between your staff.

Light and Air

Light and air flow easier through an open area.

A brighter, more airy space is simply nicer to work in, and this can be the case with open plan offices.

These advantages can have a positive influence on the happiness of your workers, and boost productivity.



Unfortunately, noise carries easily across an open plan office.

Conversations between workers, noise from printers and other equipment… it can all add up to create serious distractions for your staff.

Distractions spell bad news. Studies have shown that noise distraction can reduce productivity by up to two thirds.

Furthermore, it can increase error rates, and greatly reduce our ability to multitask. To put it simply, noise distractions will cost your business.

Less Privacy

In an open plan workspace, privacy can be a concern.

Staff simply don’t get the same level of privacy as they would with private or partitioned offices, and this can be an issue.

For example, a lack of privacy can compromise security, especially if staff deal with sensitive material on a daily basis.

Moreover, productivity can fall when your workers feel that someone is ‘looking over their shoulder’ as they work.


The noise, lack of privacy and other factors can combine to make an open plan office a more stressful working environment.

Stress in the workplace needs to be avoided at all costs. Your workers’ health will suffer if they are constantly stressed, and as a result your business’ productivity will decline.


The spread of germs is more prevalent in open plan offices.

For example, a 2011 study in Denmark found that workers in open plan offices took 62% more sick days than those in fully enclosed offices.

Unfortunately, that shows a strong correlation between poor health and open plan offices.

In conclusion, there are a number of pros and cons to implementing an open plan office.

You’ll need to work with an office design company to decide if this type of design is right for your business, because if it’s not, it will have a negative impact on the success of your organisation.

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