There has long been a debate around what style of office is better, open plan or privately closed off. Everyone has their own preferences depending on the way they work but there have been many questions since the pandemic surrounding which office style is better.

Many are questioning are open plan offices safe? Do people want to work in an open plan office or are they too loud now? Does a private office reduce communication and relationship building? Are office event required or is working from home better?

Carry on reading to understand more about both office styles and why people prefer them.

The Open Plan Office

Key features of an open plan office:

  • Rows of desks with workers working side by side and face to face
  • Very few room dividers.
  • High levels of verbal communication between employees.
  • A variety of spaces for people to use such as collaboration spaces, informal meeting areas, breakout rooms and desking.
  • Natural lighting due to the lack of walls and partitions.

Often the open plan office is preferred as communication between different employees and different departments is much easier and more free flowing. As everyone is typically together in the one large space, inter-department relationships and built and problem solving is much easier because of everyone being present. There’s also the added benefits with open plan spaces that they are much more moldable around the requirements of the company over time.

However, many people don’t like the open plan office style because it is very difficult to reduce and manage noise levels due to the lack of partitions which can be distracting to employees There is also the lack of privacy at times, many people can overhear phone calls or private discussions.

The Private Office

Key features of an private office:

  • Separate desks and cellular offices.
  • Less noise or better acoustics than an open plan office.
  • A number of room dividers and screens defining workspaces.
  • Low levels of verbal communication between employees and employers.

Some people prefer a private office because it gives them much more privacy and quiet allowing them to better get on with their tasks. Private office also have the added benefit of fewer distractions as other people’s conversations aren’t over heard nor are you interrupted with requests. Sometimes, closed offices have the ability to give a sense of hierarchy and organization to a business too which can be beneficial at times.

The decision as to whether your business should have an open plan office or an office that offers more privacy should be dependent on your business needs. Afterall, thee is no one size fits all.  Often a hybrid approach can work well when your employees have the opportunity to choose their space depending on their preference and task at hand.

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