Open, Closed or Combination: Which Office Layout is Best for You?

Choosing an office layout can sometimes seem like a bit of a minefield. With so many options and new trends, it can be difficult to decide on the best setup for your team.

Gone are the days when offices consisted of set, inflexible structures, partition walls and disjointed layouts. We now have far more flexibility to explore different environments and create spaces for our teams to thrive in.

Over recent years, there’s been a boom in the open plan office trend. Walls have been removed and private offices ditched in favour of more collaborative style spaces. However, whilst this might work for some, it can prove disruptive to others.

One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to settling on the right layout for your business. So, to help point you in the right direction, we’ve put together the following round-up of popular office layouts with pros and cons for each.

The Closed Style

This is a more traditional, organisational style of office layout where individual employees or departments are segmented using booths, designated desks or office partitions. Private offices are also often incorporated into the design providing staff with isolated spaces to work. Since the rise of the open plan office, this type of layout has been classed as somewhat outdated.

However, for some, it definitely still has its benefits. The segmentation and privacy that staff are provided with often promotes focus and enhances productivity.

Closed Office

Pros:

  • Private workstations can enhance focus and productivity levels.
  • Sensitive information is easier to protect with more private working conditions.
  • There are fewer distractions as staff are generally allocated their own, private working area. This also helps to reduce noise levels, providing a quieter working environment.

Cons:

  • Sometimes, closed offices can lead to a lack of communication amongst staff. When working separately, away from other teams, employees may have to rely on email or other means of communication.
  • Often, closed office layouts are more expensive as every member of staff, generally, has a designated desk. Now that technology has paved the way for agile working, individual workstations may no longer be necessary for all businesses.
  • There can sometimes be a sense of seclusion amongst employees with junior members of staff finding it more difficult to approach senior employees.

The Open-Plan Style

Open plan offices have become an increasingly popular choice for many businesses in recent years. This type of plan is generally free of desk partitions and private rooms, making the space more collaborative. Segregated desks are often replaced with large tables and open plan desk pods. It’s also common nowadays for employees to hot-desk around the office, mixing up where they sit on a daily basis.

Open Plan Office

Pros:

  • For businesses that favour collaboration, open plan offices can make inter-team communications more effective.
  • Without the need for partitions and allocated desks, open plan offices tend to be less expensive to fit out.
  • Supervising larger teams is often easier with managers being able to oversee people across a more open space.
  • Open plan offices also encourage a more social environment which can often bolster employee morale.

Cons:

  • It can be distracting when employees can see and hear everything that’s going on around them. From noisy conversations to the office dog making its rounds, focus can be easily disrupted.
  • There is less privacy without segregated workstations which should be a key consideration for businesses working with particularly sensitive information.
  • Germs and illnesses can be prone to spreading easier when hot desking and using different workstations.

A Combination Office Plan

Can’t decide between an open and a closed layout? This may well be the one for you. Combination office layouts combine the best features from each style and enable you to create a more tailored space. So, for example, your accounts team may prefer a quieter, secluded space for privacy and more focused work whereas your marketing team may thrive in an open, collaborative environment.

By opting for a combination office plan, you’ll be able to introduce different elements for different ways of working.

Combination Office Style
Combination Office Style Allows for Open Spaces as well as Closed Offices

Pros

  • Different teams can benefit from a working style most conducive to the type of job they do.
  • Open plan working spaces encourage employee communication and collaboration.
  • Employees can have the choice to work in the environment in which they are most productive.

Cons

  • Be careful where and how you position certain areas as teams that prefer a quieter environment will not benefit from being next to a more collaborative team in an open environment. When planning your combination office, just be careful where you place certain teams so distractions can be kept to a minimum.

To Sum Up

Choosing the best office layout is not about what trends are currently in, it’s about how it works for you and your team. What boosts productivity and morale for one company may not have the same effect for yours. So consult with your staff members and really get to grips with the type of environment that will be most conducive to how they work.

If you’d like some more advice on choosing the best layout for your office, we’d be happy to help. Give us a call on 0115 939 7572, or drop [email protected] an email. We cover Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and surrounding areas!