5 Reasons Open Plan Offices are Effective

It can be easy to be dismissive about open plan designs in offices. You can probably recall your own experience of working in an open plan office for the first time, when ambient noise from work colleagues could have added up to what felt like an unhelpfully distracting environment.

However, it’s important to remember many of the merits of open plan offices compared to closed spaces. For example, without walls left, right and centre, workers can more freely communicate with each other for collaborative projects, while these spaces can also be easily adjusted over time.

Here’s a much more comprehensive rundown of why this choice of office design can, for your business, prove delightfully effective, rather than a mere, hype-driven gimmick.


1. They foster better collaboration

In a setting shorn of walls hindering face-to-face interactions, office workers can end up collaborating in a myriad of weird and wonderful ways. For example, employees not usually even working in the same teams can spontaneously start brainstorming or engaging in an informal chat.

Without physical barriers potentially leading individual workers to opt to come up with ideas alone, those workers can instead bounce ideas between each other and, should the need arise, ask for help. Their manager would no longer have to be the sole point of contact for such assistance.

The RE:Public Space website points out that these merits of open plan spaces could particularly appeal to millennial workers on account of their preference for teamwork over private offices.

2. Your workers can be happier

One particularly strong benefit of this eased collaboration would be how it could build camaraderie among your workforce, allowing for a workspace where your employees regularly look forward to spending time. That, in turn, could help with your retention statistics.

According to a 2013 study cited by The Perspective, employees working in cubicles experienced “the highest rates of unhappiness with their work set-up.”

This probably shouldn’t surprise when you consider that the rather more fluid communication facilitated in comparatively open office plans helps employees to establish relationships with co-workers. The resulting “community” feel of the workspace can lead it to feel more inviting.

This could all bode well for especially introverted members of your team, who might not feel naturally inclined to start conversations with work colleagues in more conventional office space.

3. You can prevent or relieve pain in your workers

A typical workday lasts for over eight or nine hours, but people sitting for this long risk suffering from adverse conditions including diabetes, depression and back pain.

Fortunately, the positive impacts of open plan offices can include encouraging employees to stand up and move around. When workers do act on this encouragement, they can stretch themselves both physically and mentally, and so relieve much physical and cognitive tension.

Research has shown that moving around even for just five minutes of every hour in a workday can help an employee to feel better and keep exhaustion and hunger pangs at bay. Therefore, the worker can help themselves to reduce both genuine and perceived pain.

4. Open-plan offices are less expensive

If you are a business owner, then you are naturally bound to be cost-conscious about various aspects of the business. There’s certainly no exception when it comes to the physical premises and the equipment and supplies with which you stock them – and an open plan can help you here, too.

As an open plan office will have fewer walls than a similar-size complex of private offices, less time and materials would need to be expended in building that open-plan office in the first place.

Furthermore, in a single, large office space, air and light can both flow more easily, which could help you to save money on heating, cooling and electricity.

As for crucial equipment, you might not need to spend quite so much money on that, either, given that the communal nature of an open plan office would encourage you to share resources. Printers, staplers and other essentials can all be passed around more easily in such a workplace.

5. An open-plan office allows more long-term flexibility

You can’t quite be certain what the future might hold for your business. The company could expand, restructure or even merge with another firm. In any of these situations, you might need to rearrange your office layout – and doing so can be wonderfully easy in a single, wide-open space.

However, even when there are no walls to remove, you might remain uncertain how that space should be rearranged to encourage maximum productivity. After all, if you’ve come across what you deem a winning formula, you wouldn’t want to risk hampering it.

Fortunately, our workplace design experts here at the Shoreditch-based company Maris are only on the other end of a phone line, ready to impart their advice on 0207 902 1866.