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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Open-Plan Offices

Office space design is a major factor in employee satisfaction and motivation.  A well-designed open-plan working area connects people and creates an atmosphere of productivity.  This article lists some of the open-plan office advantages and disadvantages.

What are the advantages of having an open-plan office layout?

  1. Encourages collaboration

Many fast-paced business environments such as start-ups and tech companies find that open-plan office productivity increases when employees can easily communicate and connect with each other.  This is a huge advantage where teamwork is essential for the efficient completion of projects.  Team members become more accessible to each other and ideas are more easily shared.  Improves creativity and innovation.


  1. Creates a more social workspace

Working in an open-plan office allows employees to interact more with one another leading to more relationship-building and a space like this improves communication amongst co-workers and fosters social support.  Business tasks are demanding and a more relaxed atmosphere leads to reduced stress levels among employees.


  1. Easier to manage

One of the advantages of open office layout is that supervisors are in constant contact with their team members since everyone is in a centralised area.  Issues can therefore be resolved faster.


  1. More cost-friendly

There is no need for individual items like air conditioning units in each office. This means reduced construction costs and costs of materials.  An open-plan design can save space because it allows more people to be accommodated per square metre than traditional office spaces.


  1. Flexible layouts

Open-plan office layouts can be reconfigured to accommodate growing teams and more space is required. Flexible layouts mean that the layout can easily be changed if the business needs fewer private spaces and more collaborative areas, for example.


  1. Natural light

One of the priorities when designing open-plan office spaces is to incorporate natural light. It promotes a feeling of vitality and freshness, where employees generally feel happier, healthier, and more productive.

What are the disadvantages of open-plan offices?

  1. Noise levels

One of the most common complaints of open-space working areas is that employees find it difficult to concentrate due to the noise and distractions of co-worker activities.  To counteract noise levels, many employees listen to white noise or wear noise-cancelling earphones.


  1. Reduces productivity

A study found that over half the employees in an open-plan office are distracted multiple times during a workday. It takes 23 minutes for an employee to recover from a distraction and regain focus.  Constant interruptions interfere with an individual’s ability to focus: this can result in mistakes being made.


  1. Conflicts can arise

Another disadvantage of open-plan office is that more socialisation leads to the possibility of conflicts arising.  Managers must be capable of handling these types of situations before they affect employee morale.


  1. Lack of privacy

According to a recent survey by Career Junction, South African employees don’t like sharing their office space because they value privacy.  About 60% of respondents felt that open-plan workspaces made them feel they had no privacy.  Employees feel that it is difficult to make confidential calls and conversations can be easily overheard.

So, is an open-plan office best for your business?

Choosing a suitable office design can pose a challenge. It’s essential to weigh up open-plan office pros and cons before making a decision.  Contact Giant Leap workspace specialists to find out more about the different types of office layouts.  We will assist you in finding the perfect design solution for your needs.

The Giant Leap Team

Whatever your business, we’re pretty sure that you want to create spaces that inspire people. From clients that walk through the doors to employees that spend all day at work, dare to let your office space create an inspiration first impression.

As a black woman owned company, in business since 2011, we are passionate about designing superior interiors that allow people to journey through them with ease. Our passion is people and we create designs with a focus on excellence in delivery, finish, material and technology.

At Giant Leap, we are driven by a simple idea that if you treat people well, you bring out the very best in them. This has been the driving force behind our success over the years. It manifests itself in everything we do and design.

People are at the heart of everything we do; everything we design.

Giant Leap, welcome to a better place.