Open or not Open? That's the Question.

The latest in workspace culture trends is an emphasis on ‘open work spaces.’ Essentially, no cubes, no dividers - simply communal tables where everyone gathers at the work-equivalent dinner table for their 8 hours a day. But is it actually beneficial or is it doing more harm than good? gives 3 arguments from both sides of the table, let’s hear the argument for keeping it breezy and open first.

Better collaboration
Open spaces make it much easier to bounce ideas around and form professional and personal relationships, which is the opposite of the classic cubicle layout. Turns out, a study from 2013 found that employees with a cubicle setup had the highest rate of work unhappiness. With many of those solo voids filled, those stats aren’t found when advocating for open spaces. 

Cost effective
Less walls to build means less money to spend on them! The costs of creating an open work space is far less that of a traditional setup, which can open the door for more money to celebrating employee achievements and various morale-boosting events, both which push employees to work harder and be more dedicated in the day to day.

Prevent and alleviate pain
Open floor plans encourage people to get up and move around, which is not as encouraged when everyone is separated into their own designated areas. These small increments of movement though can have lasting results - proven to lift moods, fight afternoon exhaustion and even potentially make you less hungry. 

Does this work space excite you or make you nervous? There are reasons for both.

Does this work space excite you or make you nervous? There are reasons for both.

Now, what about keeping it classic and closed? 

Hierarchy is clear
Zappos learned this the hard way when they got rid of their hierarchy policy. They noticed a 30% turnover. Essentially, the belief is that if you keep the higher ranking positions in larger ‘corner offices’ it will motivate employees to work harder to earn those better spaces by achieving company goals. While they are working hard, the company is succeeding as a result of their efforts, it’s a win on both ends.

Fewer distractions
With more barriers up around work spaces, it adds for minimal distractions and a higher sense of privacy. With less in your eyesight, it is easier to keep on task and even re-focus if it is lost, as opposed to up to 23 minutes to get back on task if working in an open space.

Healthier for employees
Space is the best bet when avoiding germs, especially in cold and flu season. Keeping space between employees adds for less chance of anything spreading, but also various other health factors. Closed office space workers have been known to experience less neurological and digestive problems.

So which one is best? Every space layout is going to have it’s pro’s and con’s, it’s just a matter of what works best for you and your team. Maybe the solution is a little bit of both, having a common area where your workers can go to sit, but still giving them their respective spaces. What works best for you and your team?