As the threat of COVID subsides and a growing number of workers are returning to offices, could it be time to dismantle the screens and separators in the office and return to an open plan setup? Below, we answer the question “what is an open plan office” and consider the advantages to this way of working.
What is an Open Plan Office?
As the name suggests, an open plan office is a workspace that has very few enclosed spaces. There are no private offices or personal areas, and employees all use the same large space during the work day. In an open plan office, all desks and meeting spaces are together in one large room, and socialising is done in the same place as working. It’s a way to encourage collaboration, flexibility and creativity in the workplace.
The Benefits of Open Offices
There is no denying the benefits of open offices, which is why they are the ‘go to’ option for a lot of businesses. An open office is a fantastic way to save space in the workplace, giving you adequate space for more desks. Instead of everyone being squashed into cubicles or small rooms, there’s a lot of open space to make use of. It’s also a fantastic way to ensure that more natural light gets into the workplace, which can be difficult in older buildings or those with a lot of small spaces.
Open offices also allow for increased collaboration and sociability between colleagues, both of which are vital in the successful running of a business. There is also less of a rigid and hierarchical feel to the team, as everyone is present and working in the same place, and no one is separated by a private office or personal space.
The Downsides of Open Offices
There are some downsides of open offices, and they don’t work for every employee or every business. For example, some employees find an open plan environment distracting, and others find it overwhelming. You don’t get the same privacy in an open plan office as you would in a cubicle or desk that is tucked away. Plus, fitting more desks into an open can make people feel cramped. Another thing to consider is COVID, as it hasn’t completely disappeared, and many people are still conscious of infection.
Should Your Business Embrace Open Offices Again?
Before deciding if your business should embrace open offices again, weigh up the pros and cons of doing so. Remember, many employees strongly prefer to work remotely, and not all of your employees will be in the office at the same time. This means that an open office might not be as space saving and time saving as it once was.
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