Many business owners assume on what type of office plan that is best for their workers. In deciding to choose your coworking space design, it is important to consider more than just the cost and personal preferences. With the rise of shared office space nowadays, it is also surprising to find that private offices are far from extinct. Rather than choosing which is convenient for you, weigh the pros and cons of each based on your team’s needs.
Open Office Space
An open office is a floor plan that makes use of large, open spaces and minimizes the use of small, enclosed rooms such as private offices. Open offices generally promote improving collaboration since it eliminates barriers such as walls and doors that traditionally separates distinct functional areas.
- Free flow of interaction: The lack of walls or physical barriers in an open office space makes it easier for employers to interact with each other on a regular basis. This enhances the flow of information and teamwork among the staff members. Interactions here are more frequent and informal than in a closed environment.
- Teamwork: The increased collaboration in an open workspace can lead to business innovation advancement. Bringing people together can facilitate faster learning for new ones with others who are seat away from being able to help quickly.
- Reduce cost: An open office layout can benefit the business economically by reducing the costs tied to construction, utilities, and office equipment. Having a single workspace may reduce electricity expenses because of the improved flow of air and light. The business can also save on equipment investment since this kind of space promotes the use of shared resources such as printers, copiers, and other office-related stuff.
- Distractions: The high level of everyday interaction that takes place in an open space may lead to noise and distractions that make it difficult for members to focus on their work and conduct business. Energy may be good but if people are required to focus on specific tasks, errors can creep into work because people get easily distracted.
- Personality issue: Another issue is personality issues among workers. Some people don’t perform well in large groups or they seek privacy when doing their work.
- Privacy: The lack of privacy is another potential problem, where computer screens are easily visible by those walking by and telephone conversations are likely to be overheard. Additionally, if there is a conflict between two people, the tension spreads more easily in an open floor plan, adding to the chaos and harming the company morale.
- Health: Open office layout also may facilitate the spread of a disease, so if one of the members come to work with a cold, it might affect the health of entire members.
Private Office Space
Private office space is an enclosed lockable office situated within a shared environment. The same with open office space, private office spaces provide startups and SMEs with a flexible workspace that can be rented by the hour or day. This type of coworking space allows a business to retain the same amenities as a corporate office setting, but without having to purchase or service the equipment.
- Free Access: Private office spaces grant members access to basic office equipment such as printers, fax machines, projectors, cubicles, boardrooms, TVs, and water cooler. With access to free equipment, this leaves more room to expand your business or offer other employee perks that improve turnover rates. A private office allows the members to rent out separate office whenever they need it. If they need it for an hour or day, then they don’t need to sign up for a lease.
- Privacy: Private office spaces offer privacy. Professionals do not have to worry about others eavesdropping on conversations with clients as they can simply close the door.
- Personal Atmosphere: It also provides a distraction-free space especially if members are looking for a place of escape from distractions. With distractions decrease, professionals can concentrate on work at hand. In many cases, if they need to complete a lot of work, the private office has doors that can be closed to block out activities that interfere with work.
- Tidy Appearance: Private offices can be tidier and less regimented. Overcrowding and congestion are eliminated.
- Uneconomical: Private office denotes to small rooms where the office work is performed by a small group of persons or a single person. Thus, it encourages much wastage in the valuable space and as a result, it increases the cost of operation.
- Costly Supervision: Private office leads to difficult supervision. The supervisor loses personal contact with the staff.
- Poor natural lighting and ventilation: The flow of natural air and lighting is interrupted due to many walls and partitions. Therefore, artificial lighting and ventilation are provided for staff members.
- Poor communication: transmission of information and the free flow of work is hindered due to walls and partitions.
Which is Right for your Business?
Open offices and private offices each have their own pros and cons and depending on your business, one might be a better fit for you than the other. For instance, a collaborative team might perform well in an open space, while individual workers such as managers are better off in cubicles with more privacy.
Focus on the nature of your business. What will suit the types of members you have and the tasks they are required to complete. Understand it first and carefully plans the office space selection, design, and construction. Consider the work of your members and their needs. Does the nature of their work requires frequent calls with clients or are the employees often engaged in group projects necessitating regular communication? One of the best ways to come up with solutions for the best office space plan is to ask the employees about their preferences. This does not only help you make a decision that will increase productivity but also gives the employees a sense of autonomy and pride.
Open Office vs Private Office Spaces
By removing physical walls that divide the workspace into cubicles and private offices, companies have thought of an open space layout to increase communication and foster an environment of collaboration in the office. Here are some examples of specific industries that benefit in using open office space layout:
- Graphic Design and Visual Arts: Visual Arts projects tend to feature a healthy mix of individual effort and teamwork. Because these projects need a lot of feedback sessions and a quick burst of collaboration, thus the removal of cubicle walls can create a connected environment that suits creative work.
- Content Marketing, Media, and News: Open office space layout is effective for the visual fields which are convenient for newsrooms, content offices and other businesses where words are the primary product.
- Software Development: Many software companies are built around the idea of small, fluid teams and an environment that is well-suited to the advantage of the open space.
- Contact Centers: Many organizations have moved away from the cubicle-based call center to a modern contact center model.
An open space layout fosters a feeling of freedom, giving the employees access to the tools they need for the work. However, there are studies also that is strongly against to open office plans stating that they’re actually a hindrance to collaboration and teamwork. The research was found that conversations via email and instant messaging have increased significantly after the open office redesign. It has been observed that 72 percent of participants spent less time interacting in person in the open space. Interestingly, the results showed that people are taking their interactions online as soon as physical boundaries disappeared.
With alternatives to modernize the office into an open space layout, there’s a growing backlash to the open-plan office to bring back private offices. The benefits of giving people the option to work privately has given them a benefit to have control over their productivity. Private offices work best to professionals who want a place to work comfortably, these can be to startup business owners, managers, or professionals who regularly want to help private meetings or conduct client meetings.
Everybody has their own rhythm. People come at different times, need to socialize at different times, and have their most productive hours at different times. There is no universal answer on which type of office space to use. When choosing between an open office, private office, and combination office layout, assess which design would best suit your industry, employee preferences, and job functions. The role of the management is to accommodate the differences and create a space where all conflicting needs will not lead to distraction. Hope this article has given you a better understanding of private offices and an open office space.