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What are the pros and cons of different office layouts?


Are you looking to update your office layout?


Whether you are a small business owner with a handful of employees, or a large corporation with hundreds of people, choosing the right office layout can play a significant role in boosting employee morale, mood, and productivity. It’s important to consider providing a comfortable and welcoming environment for your employees, a place where they can optimize collaboration, operate efficiently, and best deliver results for the company.


There are several factors to consider before choosing an office layout. Think about the type of business you have; is it primarily conducted online or in person? Will customers be required to come into the office for meetings? Are there a lot of group and team projects held within the space?


Every business has its own unique goals and workflow, and as a result, may find one office layout more beneficial than others. It is essential to consider which layout makes the most sense for your team, so let’s explore four options along with the pros and cons of each type.


Pigott in Des Moines, Iowa

Open Office Concept


In an open-concept office plan, physical barriers like walls and partitions are removed, and instead, furniture separates workspaces and divides the office into functional areas.


PROS:

  • Increased communication & collaboration

  • Flexibility & transparency in configurations

  • Less expensive to construct

  • Transparency across the office

CONS:

  • Lack of privacy

  • Nosier and more distractions

  • Can appear disorganized

Is this office layout right for me? The hallmark of modern office design is “Open Concept”, with some estimates showing around 70% of businesses embracing this type of office layout today. For many decades it has been a common strategy to best utilize commercial space, especially for businesses such as newsrooms or call centers. If your business encourages open communication amongst team members and aims to strengthen workplace relationships, then this may be the best fit for you!


Corporate client in Columbus, Ohio

Cubicles


This traditional office layout often exists at large companies with many employees, where workstations are a standard size and separated by partitions that are 5 to 6 feet tall.


PROS:

  • More privacy between neighboring employees

  • With all workstations being the same shape and size, puzzling together a layout is much more simplified

  • A more cost-effective alternative to private offices, without having to build literal walls

CONS:

  • Limited communication and collaboration among employees

  • If the cubicle is too small, the employee may feel restricted and claustrophobic in their space.

  • Require more square footage than a desk alone, and may not be optimal when trying to maximize space per employee

Is This Office Layout for Me? Contrary to the “Open Concept” layout, the purpose of “Cubicles” is to separate employees from distracting sights and noises. Creating a physical separation barrier may help employees to concentrate in the comfort of their own semi-private space. If your employees need a quieter setting with more privacy, but there is not enough budget to build private offices, then the cubicle layout may be best suited for you.


SHYFT office in Columbus, Ohio

Team Clusters


When teamwork is the primary function for your business to be most successful, a team-based approach, like team clusters, might be the ideal office layout.


PROS:

  • Increased level of communication and collaboration among team members

  • Furniture is flexible by design so that different arrangements and configurations can be achieved

  • Team members must be transparent about their work since there is less privacy and personal space

CONS:

  • Thoughtful pre-planning ahead of time, to ensure that every team cluster has the essential tools and proper accommodations in place to fulfill their day-to-day tasks

  • Like the “Open Concept” layout, a large space with few walls may become noisy and distracting to workers

Is This Office Layout For Me? The “Team Cluster” model is perhaps the most collaborative option on the list and a vital choice for businesses that require team harmony. For example, design firms would thrive in this type of environment because no member would have to work in isolation. Instead, team members can bounce ideas off one another without having to disturb other branches of the company.


Life Care Services in Des Moines, Iowa

Private Offices


Each employee has their own dedicated space with complete privacy, surrounded by four walls, a door, and usually a window.


PROS:

  • High level of privacy. If your business deals with sensitive information or anything that is confidential, this office setting guarantees the highest level of privacy.

  • There is a degree of permanence, unlike any other type of office layout, that enables the employee to have complete control over their environment.

CONS:

  • Takes up more space and costs more to build

  • Reduced communication & collaboration

  • Can create an unintentional sense of hierarchical prestige

Is This Office Layout for Me? Usually meant for top executives like directors and managers, private offices are few and far between nowadays. With the way the modern business world is moving, executives may simply refuse this type of office because they prefer to be integrated within the rest of the company, rather than isolated. However, depending on the nature of the business and the level of sensitive intellectual property that is being dealt with, this type of office may be necessary to maintain the privacy of company and client affairs.



Final Thoughts


There are many factors to consider when choosing an office layout. Careful consideration should be taken when determining a solution. There is no one-size-fits-all answer so it’s best to weigh the pros and cons of each and determine what solution is best for your company culture, type of work, and project budget.

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