Open vs private office space: Which is best for my business?
Companies nowadays are shifting to the open office format. Does that mean open offices are better than private ones?
Well, it depends on your business and needs.
This article weighs the advantages and disadvantages of each.
The world is witnessing a dramatic shift towards open office spaces in all sorts of businesses, due to coworking explosion. Cubicle walls melted away, opening up to create collaborative workspaces.
Open offices gained popularity with new-age giant companies like Google and Facebook. Many companies around the world began to adopt the open space office system in the hopes of capturing some of the same successes of the pioneers.
Now, what are the advantages and disadvantages of open space offices?
OPEN OFFICE ADVANTAGES
Collaboration is the most mentioned benefit of the open office. Putting people of different levels and functions into one space opens up the dialogue and offers more perspectives. The result is more harmonious, agile thoughts and ideas. Also, an open office reduces miscommunication and streamlines ideation.
The immediacy and accessibility that an office space provides to team members make it ideal for collaboration.
When a company is just starting and is not sure of its capacity to grow, open office space rentals are the best option. These spaces are dynamic and adaptable. It’s easy to rearrange space and add desks. This allows for rapid growth if you need to scale up the workforce quickly.
Growing businesses save time and money on having to look for new offices.
Open offices are the most economical way to set up an office. Private and individual offices take up more space and cost more to set up. On average, an open office space takes up less than 1/3rd of the space of a traditional office.
Businesses of all sizes are focusing on becoming leaner and more productive. An open office provides the perfect balance between quality and price point that fits many modern companies.
OPEN OFFICE DISADVANTAGES
Interruptions & Distractions
In an open office, it is just as easy to distract each other. According to studies by the University of California, Irvine, distractions happen 29% more often in open offices.
But then, steps can be taken to reduce distractions. Allowing employees to work from home when they need distraction-free work days can help. Also, wearing headphones can help keep employees at their work.
Lack of Privacy
Some people prefer private office space. For them, privacy can offer freedom from distraction and makes your workspace feel like your own.
Lack of Permanency
Open offices come with a lack of permanency. Things can change very often as workspaces can move from here to there at any time.
For some people, more permanent workspace can provide a sense of comfort. Allowing workers to personalize their desk space with plants and photos can help them feel like their space is their own. It can also minimize unnecessary shuffling around space.
Private offices are the older approach. Employees show up in their private offices and it’s their home for the day. The four walls of their cubicle or office are familiar and comfortable.
Private office advantages
One of the most obvious benefits of a private office is privacy. Workers can complete professional or personal matters in their own space. It also makes it easier to deal with sensitive matters such as legal or financial issues without alerting or involving the whole team.
Often, salespeople who are on frequent calls will prefer a private office. The calls are less of a distraction to those around them, and they can have the comfort of a private call.
Another benefit of a private office is the lack of interruptions. People are less likely to disrupt or interrupt you while in a private space. This makes it easier to focus on your own work and reduces distractions.
In addition to interruptions, the noise of an open office can be disruptive.
The lack of interruptions helps individuals to be more productive throughout their day. Employees can accomplish their individual tasks faster and with high quality.
Private office disadvantages
Although a private office improves individual productivity, it can reduce team productivity. Where there are fewer interruptions, there are also fewer opportunities for communication and collaboration.
Having the privacy of your own office can be nice and comfortable. But it’s also isolating. Spending days locked away alone in your own office can be disturbing. It can reduce participation in company culture.
Private offices come at a definite cost. They take up more space, they cost more to put together, and moving in and out of spaces is more time-consuming and expensive than an open office.