Open office concepts are all the rage right now. It seems like every hip Silicon Valley startup is bragging about their open layout, giving up cubicles in favor of spacious floor plans with few to no physical barriers. Open office layouts are social, collaborative, and fun, but they can also be loud, distracting, and invasive. Before you turn your whole office upside down, take a moment to think about the pros and cons of an open office layout for your business and your team.
Pro: Easier Communication
Open office layouts lend themselves well to collaboration and team-building. Your team will be able to easily have face-to-face conversations about their projects and solve problems in real time, without the miscommunications and crossed wires that Slack and email can sometimes create. Open offices make it easy to feel like everyone is working together, and the constant hum of noise and energy can discourage slacking off.
Con: Constant Noise and Buzz
The flip side of easy communication is that the Chatty Cathy or Carl at the next desk is going to drive you insane. Talkative and outgoing workers tend to love open office concepts because they feel connected to their coworkers all day long. For introverted workers, or just those with a big project and a looming deadline, this sounds like a nightmare. Bear in mind that departments and roles that work on a lot of meticulous, concentration-heavy projects may be unenthused about moving to an open office plan.
Pro: Greater Flexibility
An open office floor plan means you’re never stuck with a particular layout. Don’t like how things are laid out? Want to move certain teams closer together or situate individuals where they can easily cross-collaborate? It’s easy with an open office plan. Simply drag desks around to suit the needs of a particular project or team. Some companies even have unassigned desks that anyone can float to on any given day as it strikes their fancy.
Con: Constant Change
If you have employees who are creatures of habit and who thrive on routine, the flexible nature of an open office plan may give them pause. Be mindful of these team members and consider whether you really need to be able to shift the layout of your office every month or week. In some industries this might not even be possible given the complex array of tech and other tools employees need at their desks – moving all that to another location for a temporary assignment would be a poor use of time.
Pro: Level Playing Field
In an open office plan the CEO can sit right next to the newest employee on the team. No one is siloed off in their own special corner behind closed doors, and there are no overt status symbols like the classic corner office. This way everyone can learn from the executive team, and managers are easily accessible and approachable for questions. New team members feel included right from day one and can easily watch established team members to learn their jobs and office protocol.
Con: No Privacy
There’s not a lot of alone time to be had with a typical open office plan. While this can encourage staying on task instead of mindlessly surfing the internet, it can also trigger feelings of paranoia and anxiety. Offices where people walk right behind employees as they are trying to work can especially create a sense that every movement and mouse click is being observed and scrutinized. Consider whether your team members work on sensitive and private information – if they do, the open office concept might not be for you.
What’s the Right Choice for You?
Whether you decide to make the jump to an open office plan or not completely depends on your business and your team. This isn’t the kind of decision you make in a vacuum – as a leader, you owe it to your team to seek their input and really listen to the questions they ask and the concerns they raise. Just because an open office plan is trendy doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
That being said, we love our open office plan at 360 Payments! Our customer support team collaborates quickly and easily as they resolve customer issues – something at which we’re exceptionally good – while our sales team cheers each other on as they help customers save money on their credit card processing. Want to know more about what we’re all about? Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you how we’re different.
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