Advantages and disadvantages of open space offices

More and more companies are opting for open space office design when arranging their workspace. Open space offices have numerous advantages, primarily facilitating collaboration among teams. However, it's important not to overlook certain drawbacks. One of the major concerns is the increased level of noise. Nevertheless most of these inconveniences can be effectively addressed. In today's article, we will focus on highlighting the pros and cons of open space offices, as well as provide solutions for dealing with potential challenges.
Open Space Offices
A few decades ago, many offices were divided into smaller rooms and separated areas. Today, such layouts are rarely seen as they have been replaced by open space office designs. Open space offices typically allow for a larger number of workstations within the same area. The space can be arranged in various ways simply by positioning desks in different locations.
However, it is important to be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of this type of office arrangement. This knowledge will enable optimal design and minimize any negative aspects, thereby maximizing the comfort and productivity of employees.
The Major Pros of Open Space Offices
When opting for an open space office layout, the most common benefit is a reduction in remodeling and maintenance costs. The flow of information and documents is faster, and employees from different teams can easily communicate and integrate, positively influencing the overall work atmosphere.
Designing an open space office can also emphasize equality among employees. The office space is easily reconfigurable if needed, providing flexibility that benefits growing companies whose needs may change over time.
The Major Cons of Open Space Offices
Unfortunately, there are several downsides to this office layout. Having more people in one large room leads to increased noise levels. The hustle and bustle of the office can hinder concentration, thereby affecting productivity. Employees may also complain about a lack of privacy. Ensuring optimal working conditions, such as appropriate temperature and ventilation, can be problematic. Additionally, workstations located deep within the office often receive insufficient natural sunlight.
In larger companies, the increased risk of spreading diseases is also a significant concern. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have been paying attention to this aspect. The simultaneous illness of several employees can disrupt the entire team's work for an extended period. Some employees in open space offices also complain about queues at printers and difficulties in reaching a consensus regarding room temperature. However, these issues can be addressed relatively easily.
How to Address the Challenges in Open Space Offices?
At Tengo, our designers are well aware of the major cons of working in an open space office. However, we have proven solutions for most of these issues. One of the main problems in open space offices is the increased noise level. We can reduce it by installing acoustic panels (such as desk dividers) near workstations, which not only help decrease noise but also provide a bit more privacy. Incorporating greenery into the office is also beneficial—plants near work areas noticeably reduce noise intensity while improving air quality and overall well-being in the workplace.
We always encourage our clients to include conference rooms in their open space office design. These rooms provide individuals or entire teams with ideal conditions for discussions, focused work, and a bit more privacy. Another excellent solution is acoustic booths. These small, well-soundproofed spaces are perfect for making phone calls or engaging in video chats.
To delineate different zones within an open space office (such as for individual teams), we utilize shelves, acoustic panels, and often indoor plants. This approach doesn't hinder communication between teams but rather enables work in a much more pleasant environment.