Does your business need an open plan office layout?

If business is booming and your workforce burgeoning, you may find office space is an issue, even if you have staff who sometimes work at home.

So could an open plan office layout be the answer?

If you’ve an old cramped office space with sectioned-off work stations and filing cabinets stacked floor-to-ceiling, it could be time to give the place an overhaul, so here are some of the pros and cons of an open plan office.

Open plan office advantages

The most obvious benefit of an open plan office is that it feels light and airy and this can instantly make for a better environment and make the workplace somewhere employees look forward to entering.

Then there’s the lack of physical barriers – there are little or no sectioned off workstations in a sectioned off workstation – which can make it easier for people to interact and increase productivity and ideation.

An open plan office can also make for a more relaxed working environment and this, again, can encourage cross-departmental interaction, mean more staff are prepared to ask others for advice and assistance and be great for innovation, which will help drive your business forward.

And because business always comes down to cold, hard cash, it’s worth mentioning that an open plan work space can be good for overheads – the better airflow can cut both heating and cooling costs, while the absence of walls and obstructions help light to flow in naturally and trim lighting expenses.

The openness of the office space means it’s also easier to share resources, such as printers and copiers, and it can also be easily modified to include hot desks for those staff who aren’t in the office full time.

It’s not all good news though, and open plan offices do have their downsides…

Open plan office disadvantages

Although it’s generally the case that an open plan office is good for productivity, this largely depends on the type of business you’re running and the staff you employ – the potentially noisy office environment could lead to distracted staff and a drop in productivity.

And there’s also the fact that open plan offices have been accused of being germ farms – a study from the University of Arizona found employees who work in open plan offices typically take 70% more sick days than those working in partitioned spaces.

One final thing to consider is the type of business you run may mean and open plan office is not suitable at all. If, for instance, your in the legal industry, an open plan office could see client confidentiality compromised.

Why your business needs a modern office

The office you work in says a lot about your business – and a new study from Saracen Interiors shows that a modern office space can be the difference between recruiting and keeping the best talent.

The design interior specialists polled 1,000 office workers and found 41% admitted a modern office could be a deciding factor in whether they accept a job offer, while 43% have rejected job offers due to an uninspiring workplace.

The study also found that dour office spaces can have a negative effect on existing staff members – 39% said a dull office was one of the main reasons they left a previous position, while 22% said they’d actually take a pay cut of up to 10% if it meant moving to a modern office.

50% of those polled said they research potential employers to see what kind of office they have before deciding to apply for the role, while 66% admitted they would be willing to travel further for a role in a modern office.

Mike Page, CEO at saraceninteriors.com, said: “It’s clear to see from the survey results that business owners should be thinking more about their office design and how it appears to prospective employees when recruiting. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, employers should consider what impact their working environment has on their existing employees’ mental wellbeing, stress levels, and productivity.”

Which type of office space do you prefer – open plan or cubicle? Let us know in the comments…

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