Pros and Cons of Open-plan Offices

For start-ups who can barely afford to pay all staff plus rent plus utilities, open-plan offices seem like the likely bet. But as the business grows and more money comes in, business owners tend to move to more suitable offices which are more than likely partitioned. But should you partition? Or open-plan offices are more efficient. Aside the obvious pro of improving interoffice communication and the obvious con of lack of privacy, here are some make or break pointers.


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It’s cheaper… Enough said.

It’s cheaper than cubicles and it’s definitely cheaper than individual offices.


Workers are deprived of their individuality. Open-plan offices sends the signal that one is replaceable or interchangeable. When employees don’t have dedicated spaces they can personalize, they are more likely to feel that their job is temporary.


Open-plan spaces are more flexible towards staff increase than a traditional layouts where you are limited by the number of individual rooms in the given space. If by projection you are expecting a year-on-year growth in headcount, open-plan spaces are a good cushion.


A surveillance state is an anxiety state. Yes, your workers should not have anything to hide. But open-plan offices give the ‘Big Brother’ vibe. It is not a very comfortable environment to work in. Even your most hardworking workers take mini personal breaks on work time to reply messages or check out pictures from the wedding she wasn’t invited to that weekend. It does not mean they are any less industrious. You caught them just when they let down their guard.


Open-plan offices really look good in pictures. You ask why that’s a pro? “Startups always need to communicate the image of ruthless efficiency and aggressive, around-the-clock diligence and open-plan offices take the right pictures, whether for magazine photos or venture capitalists”, Fortune Magazine says.


While they do look good in pictures, they also somehow manage to communicate a low social status through the lack of privacy.


Open-plan offices are better than cubicles. Cubicles suck! But open-plan spaces suck less. That’s a good thing, right? And it’s way easier to spot the slackers and those always on social media during work hours.


So there you go! Hope this article helps you decide when you’re ready to take your business to the next step.

Pros and Cons of open-plan offices by Efua Dufu for the Thrive


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