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Known to stimulate productivity, quality of work and collaboration, open-plan offices, when well designed, can create some of the most inspirational and efficient workspaces, offering both functional and aesthetic benefits. Appropriate for a range of different industries and business types, an open plan design provides a modern take on a traditional office whilst also contributing to company goals and working standards. 

Our guide covers some of the essential features involved in creating an open-plan office whilst also highlighting the primary benefits and how this design scope can assist the business, employees, visitors and investments. 

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What is an open plan office?

The primary feature of an open plan office is its lack of walls, dividers and any other form of barrier that is used between occupants, furniture and resources. As the name suggests, it is an open space with limited restrictions and optimal freedom. 

Another key feature of this office space is the concept of desk sharing and larger workspaces. Compared to a more traditional office where each employee will be given their desk and designated area, an open plan office features larger surfaces which are fit with multiple accessories or tech equipment.

Bearing both these features in mind, open-plan offices are the epitome of collaborative working and are used by businesses that have a key focus on communication and flexible working arrangements.  

Key features of an open plan office

  • Rows of desks with employees working side by side and face-to-face
  • None or very few dividers and partitions
  • High levels of communication and workplace collaboration
  • Natural lighting
  • A focus on technology and smart workplace processes
  • A selection of different zones e.g. collaborative, quiet, breakout rooms and meeting rooms
  • Flexibility and freedom
  • A focus on ergonomics and furniture placement, ensuring that furniture is comfortable and adjustable 
  • Branding and commercial interiors to reflect the brand values and culture 
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Benefits of an open plan office

Different businesses will want to get different things out of their space and out of their employees. Whilst one team may thrive off teamwork and collaboration, another might require a sense of privacy and independence. Here is a selection of benefits that open-plan offices provide:

Improved communication and collaboration

Open plan offices operate with easy and frequent communication, improving teamwork, vocal confidence, and problem-solving. Due to the limited amount of restrictive barriers used in an open office, it is much easier to communicate with others, especially as in traditional offices, different departments are typically separated and have limited contact. 


Open plan office layouts often require less construction, saving on building costs and labourers.

Increased flexibility

The absence of fixed walls allows for flexible working conditions and adaptability of the workspace. Modern businesses are now opting for flexible working conditions such as flexi-time, desk sharing and hybrid working models so open-plan offices are a great way to add to the adjustable routines.  

Drawbacks of an open plan office 

  • Noise and distractions from other employees, visitors and outdoor surroundings. This could impact productivity levels and concentration. 
  • Lack of privacy. Privacy can often be crucial for meetings, confidential discussions and sensitive information. Workplaces will often install specialist rooms and pods to cater to these needs.
  • Health and wellbeing. Due to so many people being in one place, this can often lead to an increased risk of spreading illness and germs. 
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Open office fit-outs by Advanced Commercial Interiors

ACI are dedicated to helping businesses and commercial spaces across the UK create an environment which is inviting, inspiring and modern. From sleek, simple open plan to bold branded collaborative spaces, we have a skilled team of designers and fitters who will work with you and your business to create the dream location. Find out more about our open office services here.

Although specialising in office design and fit outs, we also have expertise in the education sector aswell as industrial, warehouse and retail.

Get in touch with ACI on 0115 939 7572 to enquire about our design, refurbishment or fit out services or contact us here.