Now a standard in office buildings around the world, open office design allows workers the freedom to move away from cubicles and stuffy environments into vibrant, creative spaces. This type of office fit out is ideal to cater for collaboration between workers, being a fraction of the average office expense too.

However, closed office layouts are not without their benefits. Whilst the open office is great for networking and teamwork, some people may prefer to work in private or have their own space.

Open or closed office fit out: Which will you choose?

Open offices

An open office layout (also known as 'open plan') refers to when a space is designed without boundaries between two workers, such as cubicles or walls. Whilst there may be still private offices or conference/meeting rooms in such spaces, the ultimate goal of an open office is to grow a sense of creativity and collaboration within a team.

Working hand-in-hand with the flexibility that is presented by the technology at our disposal, open offices have grown in usage. Whether it's new start-ups to global conglomerates (such as Google and Facebook), an open office defines the 'modern' business.

The advantages of an open design for your office fit out includes:

  • Faster communication. With no barriers in the way, an open layout will make it easier for workers to ask questions or to hold spontaneous meetings. A common desk layout in open space sees workers all sharing the same table, just to aid their communication.
  • Greater levels of teamwork. Thanks to the easier communication, collaboration will flow like a mountain stream. The design of the space will empower those who work within it, further pushing them on to work together on projects.
  • Cost-effective. When compared to a'traditional' office space, open plan offices generally need less space, saving much in the way of cost. Money that can be repurposed in other important aspects of the company.

However, open offices do have their disadvantages, which include:

  • Lack of privacy. If a worker wants to talk to someone about a sensitive subject or needs to pass on confidential information, an open office in which ears are everywhere isn't conducive in doing so. Not just that, but the close proximity to others may also lead to such information being seen, even if you're typing it up on a laptop.
  • Noise levels. With so many people in a single space, open office layouts can occasionally provide a frantic, noisy experience. For workers who need to work in silence (whether to concentrate or to make a phone call), such an environment can prove to be a distraction.

Closed offices

In comparison, a closed office fit out is secluded from other offices through the use of a cubicle or wall. Workers in a closed office will have more privacy and greater control over their working environment.

Whilst the closed office was commonplace until the turn of the century, they have gradually been replaced in favour of the open style. This can generally be put down to a few factors, namely the cost of the space, as well as changing trends and tastes.

Despite being on the wane, they still DO have their advantages though. These include:

  • Privacy. The main reason, of course, to adopt a closed office layout is for privacy and the protection it brings for information,equipment, belongings and allowing you to get on with your work unhindered. You'll still likely find such set-ups in the finance, law and healthcare sectors, for example.
  • Productivity. Dependent on the person, a closed office design may prove to be more productive, what with it being a controlled, private environment. The private office can cut out distractions and allow the worker to get on with their tasks in a space that has been set up for their comfort levels.

In terms of disadvantages of a closed office:

  • Lack of contact. With the closed office cutting people off from one another, workers will tend to stay and work in their offices for the majority of the day, leading to an isolated experience.
  • Costs. With the need for cubicles and walls, closed office fit outs generally cost more to rent; for a start-up or small business, this can provide a major detriment to their budget going forward.

Choosing the right type of office design

Before deciding either way, it's important to remember that every company has a different culture and function at their heart. What works for one firm, may not work for another – even if they do the same work and are based in the same area. That being said, some office fit out types will be more suitable for certain work processes than others.

You should think about choosing an open office layout if your communication is key to how you operate. As open offices encourage teamwork and creative solutions, it is a particularly good set-up for start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers.

If your business deals in sensitive information or if your workers need privacy, closed offices will be ideal. They are particularly useful for corporate executives or public-dealing firms who need to host meetings or want to impress an ultra-professional image upon their clients.

So that was our guide to open and closed office spaces. Would you like to learn more? Then please feel free to get in touch with our expert fitters today.

Expert office design in South East England

Throughout the last three decades, the team here at Oaktree Interiors have been designing modern office fit outs that have helped our clients to get the most from the spaces they work in.

No matter your particular needs or budget, we are able to use our leading experience to help your business establish a bespoke-designed office fit out that will meet the challenges presented by the expectations of employees and clients alike.

If you would like to learn more about how your business could benefit from intelligent office design, please feel to get in touch with us by calling 0345 21 86955. Alternatively, you can send an e-mail to hello@oaktreeoffice.com and we'll be in touch as soon as possible.

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