Open About Open Plan – Office Furniture Design

The open plan office design has been a growing office trend for the last few years, replacing the once popular cubicle layout. Companies like Google and Facebook are opting for open plan office furniture on the international stage. But is it the right option for your Melbourne office fit out? When making the decision to go with open plan or not, you need to ensure it will work for you and your office. So to help you decide, we examined this popular layout to test the pros and cons, the alternatives, and the solutions to answer potential apprehensions.

The Pros

The biggest appeal of the open plan layout has been better utilisation of space; helping businesses save on building costs. The cost-saving options do not stop there though. With the need to only heat and cool one room, as well as through more efficient lighting and airflow, utility expenses can be reduced significantly. Open plan office furniture is a great way to encourage collaboration, creativity and innovation. Better communication between staff has also been an important element of open plan. This partners with a sense of being a part of a community, encouraging camaraderie among employees. In short, an open plan environment advocates for overall efficiency and teamwork in the office.

The Cons

Workers in open plan areas have reported that constant interruptions, others having fun, and loud conversations, make it hard to focus while at work. This noise can be a source of embarrassment for those on the phone to clients and prospects as well. Lack of privacy is also a common complaint; picking up the phone to make a sale can be difficult when feeling self-conscious about being overheard. The loss of personal space has been a big concern for some office workers too, along with colleagues “borrowing” items off desks without permission. In general this all works to create a feeling of dissatisfaction in the office, but this feeling can be dispelled.

Alternatives and Solutions

Let us now have a look at the alternatives to open plan, and solutions to solving some of the cons. We have talked before about the power of the partition. Gridline Partitioning would be the best alternative to open plan, creating individual office space for those who need the privacy. Next of course is the traditional cubicle layout, or even just configurable workstations. Configurable work stations include having the ability to increase the height of one or more workstation partitions, or incorporating movable office furniture. Both of these options would return personal space to employees, but not necessarily combat the noise issue. To fix that, a great solution is to provide breakout areas for staff to retreat to. Here they can chat or have that fun that is so distracting to others, improving their time at work and allowing their desk buddies to work in peace. And of course providing a private room for employees to utilise when they need to focus, is a great solution as well. By incorporating one or more of these alternatives or solutions, you can ensure a happy and productive office.

So should you or shouldn’t you go open with your office plan? Ultimately it depends on your team and how they operate. Open plan is good for businesses with multi-disciplinary teams, like call centers. It is also helpful for companies that rely on rapid innovation, due to the ease of collaboration. And it is great for extrovert employees who love the interaction that open plan brings. Introverts on the other hand, prefer a private office. And open plan might not work for data entry staff who need a distraction free environment for accuracy. If you are open to open plan, or simply want to delve into your ideas on how to design your Melbourne office fit out, call our friendly team at Office Vision today.

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