Open plan office or private? It’s a question that often gets interior designers, architects and contractors scratching their heads.
Over the last decade, the demand for open plan offices boomed. These collaborative spaces were seen as modern and innovative, until the pandemic hit. Businesses began to close the door on open plan workplaces and we saw a rise in modular office stations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The pandemic also held a huge magnifying glass to the function of our offices, resurrecting the debate on what’s best: an open office or a private office.
What is an Open Plan Office?
As the name suggests, an open plan office is a large, open workspace. By removing partition walls, this office style is designed to inspire better communication amongst your workforce.
Pros of an Open Plan Office
Collaboration – The layout of an open plan office is designed to encourage intermingling between teams by making communication easy. Have a question? Spin around and ask your colleague!
Cost Efficiency – With an open plan office, you could save money by removing the additional construction costs of partitioning, furnishings and energy bills to run each work area.
Modern Interiors – Open plan offices have a great reputation for housing modern businesses. The contemporary style can be a great tool to attract a wider talent pool within your recruitment strategy.
Cons of an Open Plan Office
Acoustics – The #1 challenge of an open plan workspace is controlling noise. Without a wall or surface to soak up sound energy, this work environment can become unpleasant and noisy, distracting staff from tasks.
Wellbeing – Without the protection of a partition, viruses and bad bacteria are more likely to spread between colleagues, increasing staff absences and sick days.
Productivity – Whilst you might think an open plan office will help communication between your team, it can have the reverse effect. Productivity levels can dip as staff find they’re unable to concentrate with so many distractions around them.
What is a Private Office?
Closed or private office spaces are divided into modular work zones with walls and partitioning systems. They provide privacy and breakout areas, supporting staff with different tasks due to the dynamic design.
Pros of a Private Office
Privacy – Zoned office spaces give your employees a place to hide. Whether they need a confidential chat or a private meeting, this office design provides a safe space.
Productivity – Focus areas can result in boosted productivity levels. By creating spaces void of noise distractions, employees are more likely to focus and get work done.
Hybrid Working – That’s not to say a closed office is all private. This office style can help businesses adjust to hybrid working by providing dynamic work areas; a space to pop out for a quick video call without distracting the rest of the team or contained rooms for loud, collaborative team sessions.
Cons of a Private Office
Miscommunication – It’s easier to translate a face-to-face conversation than it is an email. By dividing work areas, the closed office can discourage collaboration and leave staff lacking inspiration and engagement.
Smaller Workspace – Your office may stay the same size, but structural office partitions can actually make your workplace feel smaller.
Costs – With modular work areas comes the expenses of fit outs, additional costs for heating, lighting, chargers and more.
Glass partitions are an ideal solution to experience the benefits of both worlds. With glass partition walls, you can divide necessary work areas all while enjoying an open plan design.
Pros of Glass Partitioning
Maximised Space – Glass transparency means you can divide office space whilst maintaining an open plan style. Natural light is also encouraged into each work area, helping to create an illusion of spacious rooms.
Collaboration – With glass partitions, no one is isolated behind a solid wall (but don’t worry, we’ve got lots of ways you can create privacy to remove distractions in your next meeting!). Swapping that drylining for glass walls can improve collaboration and reduce loneliness in the workplace.
Acoustics – Depending on your requirements, we offer glass partitioning systems with varying acoustic performances. Our premium acoustic glass partition walls can improve privacy for confidential work whenever needed.
Staff Wellbeing – Glass can have a huge impact on the wellbeing of your workforce. Exposure to natural light, reduced migraines and employee value are just a few benefits to your team. Glass walls also act as a barrier between colleagues to minimise the spread of illness around the office.