By Bond Collective Staff
Open office plan work environments are all the rage right now — especially for entrepreneurs, startups, and other small businesses. They are a quick, easy, and practical way to get a team up and running without the expense and delay of constructing a divided office from scratch.
All you need for an open office plan are your desks, furniture, and equipment. But as simple and efficient as that sounds, the open office plan does come with a list of pros and cons. It’s critical to consider these benefits and drawbacks before committing your team to a specific layout.
What Is An Open Office Plan?
An open office plan is a layout in which you accommodate all of your team members and equipment in a single large, open room.
Departments or divisions are usually grouped in different parts of the space, but there are very few (if any) dividing walls. Instead, demarcations are created with counter- or desk-height cabinets, shelves, and plants of all shapes and sizes.
When laying out your open office plan, be sure to include areas for quiet concentration, regular work, socialization, and group meetings. This will help to allay some of the common drawbacks inherent in the open office plan.
6 Pros Of An Open Office Plan
1) Lower Cost
Open office spaces are generally more economical than traditional layouts. You spend less money on dividers and costly construction. As a result, more funds are available for equipment and other necessities.
In fact, many fledgling businesses — and even some large corporations and enterprises — are opting for the benefits that come with renting fully furnished open office plan spaces from companies like Bond Collective.
The cost savings of an open office plan allow you to invest your capital where it can help your company grow.
Open office plans are, by nature, extremely flexible. If a certain layout isn’t working, change it. If you’ve got part of your layout dialed-in but still need to perfect a smaller area, the open office plan makes it easy to move things around.
To maximize flexibility, think of each type of work your team conducts as a component of the whole. Quiet work goes in one area, group work goes in another area, socialization in yet another. You’ll also need space for meetings and the like.
With these four basic categories in mind, you can simply divide your large space into quadrants and arrange the furniture accordingly. Then, if you don’t like where one “job” is located, you can switch with one of the others.
3) Improved Communication
The open office layout naturally lends itself to improved communication. Fewer barriers between team members means that collaboration is easier to initiate. The increase in collaboration then fosters teamwork and improves work relationships.
This can be especially beneficial for solopreneurs and startups that can often thrive on the creativity, support, and community they receive from working in an open office space with other businesses.
4) Pleasing Aesthetics
Open office plans don’t suffer from the sense of division that characterizes the cubicle office of the last century. This provides a modern, trendy vibe to the space that can promote creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.
Most open office layouts are also aesthetically pleasing because they can be decorated in a variety of ways that traditional offices simply can’t. That stimulates the senses and is much more invigorating than the cold, fluorescent, “rat-in-a-maze” feel of the cubicle office.
One of the key features of the open office plan is centralization. Teams and departments share office equipment like printers and copiers — as well as other tools and supplies — which are placed in a central location for easy access.
Imagine your printers, copiers, and supplies at the center of the room with work areas arranged around the periphery. This type of centralization promotes efficiency, economy, and full use of essential equipment.
6) Sense Of Democracy
Open offices promote a sense of equality and democracy because everyone — managers and team members alike — work in one big room. No competition for the biggest corner office or hurt feelings because one employee has a larger desk.
Of course, you will need private spaces where individuals and teams can go to discuss sensitive matters. But that can be handled with a walled-off conference room or smaller private collaboration rooms.
6 Cons Of An Open Office Plan
1) Noise Level
Noise level is one of the biggest cons of the open office plan. Why? Because improved communication often leads to non-work conversation.
Without the cubicle surfaces and interior walls to absorb sound, even business-related phone calls can become an issue if someone needs to concentrate or focus on a difficult task.
To combat noise-related issues, Bond Collective has created specific areas in our open office floor plans for quiet, focused work. This cuts down (and even eliminates completely) the echo effect that plagues most coworking spaces.
In an open office, distractions come in all shapes and sizes. The noise previously mentioned is certainly one. But even movement can become a distraction when team members are having a hard time working.
People getting up to use the copier, go to the restroom, or retrieve supplies can pull focus away from the task at hand and interrupt creativity and flow. Some employees can thrive in this type of environment — they find it stimulating — while others find it overwhelming.
The open office spaces at Bond Collective, though, are designed to minimize distractions. We separate spaces with plants, shelves, and large furniture to block the excessive movement common in most coworking spaces.
3) Lack Of Privacy
Lack of privacy in an open office can be a problem for team members who may feel that someone is always watching them. It can also be an issue for team members who deal with sensitive matters on a daily basis.
Executives handling high-level matters might suffer from an extreme lack of privacy to the point that it can be detrimental to the business. Strategies and secrets can travel fast in an open office layout.
But at Bond Collective, you don’t have to worry about your privacy becoming an issue. All members have access to private meeting and phone booths. And you can always reserve a private office for your exclusive use by expanding your membership.
4) Health Concerns
Partitions and interior walls prevent the spread of noise, but they also prevent the spread of germs. In an open office space, there’s nothing to prevent illnesses from spreading like wildfire.
Best case, it’s only one or two team members who get sick. Worst case, your whole team has to stay home and you lose a few days of productivity. You can counteract this issue by promoting cleanliness, hand-washing, and staying home rather than coming to work when you’re sick.
Bond Collective takes your health concerns seriously. Our daily on-site cleaning disinfects common work areas (kitchen, bathrooms, lounge, etc.) so that you don’t have to worry about your team getting sick.
If not maintained properly, an open office space quickly takes on a cluttered, untidy appearance. This can have a negative effect on the morale and productivity of your team members working there. It can even make a bad impression should clients or customers visit you at your workplace.
To fight the clutter, keep desk decorations to a minimum, provide plenty of storage, and try to hide the cords whenever possible.
The pros at Bond Collective are familiar with the effects clutter can have on productivity. We minimize these distractions by offering plenty of storage, recessed and corralled cords, and well-designed workspaces that feel open and clutter-free.
Because of the noise, distractions, lack of privacy, and cluttered appearance, open office plans can feel stressful to a wide variety of individuals.
Older employees (those accustomed to the cubicles of a few years ago), the easily distracted, and those who have never worked in an open office before are particularly susceptible to heightened stress levels in this type of work environment.
At Bond Collective all of our services, decor, and amenities are designed to reduce the stress of your daily work life so you can focus on performing at your best all the time.
The Best Of Both Worlds
Whether your team thrives in an open office space, a private office, or a mix of both, you can get the best of all layout options when you work at Bond Collective. Bond Collective’s hot desks (first-come, first-served), dedicated desks, private offices, and conference rooms give your team the flexibility to work in the environment that suits them best.
Bond Collective offers industry-leading amenities that exceed all your expectations, including:
Guest reception and greeting
Private meeting and phone booths
Daily on-site cleaning
Complimentary beer, coffee, tea, and fresh fruit
If you’re looking for a workspace that will inspire your team to greatness, visit our gorgeous office spaces in New York (Bushwick, 55 Broadway, 60 Broad, Gowanus, Flatiron) and Philadelphia (Station House). Then become a member to experience the best that luxury open office plans have to offer.