Open Offices or Closed Offices? – Why Good Office Design Is Important

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Office designs speak volumes about the type of organization you are trying to position yourself as. And it is no surprise that office designs tend to play a huge role in retaining current employees and welcoming future employees.

And not just that, the right kind of office space helps increase employee engagement, improves employee productivity and promotes a healthy work culture.

Obviously, not all companies can be like the ones that get featured in articles such as these. But, there’s no reason why you cannot choose to design your office the way you want to. Or at least co-adopt a few design features.

Most office spaces boil down to two kinds of designs: open designs and closed designs.

Open designs are the kinds that you see most often in TV shows and films, colorful and spacious, with eclectic artwork and or gaming stations, snack bars etc interspersed around the place. Closed designs, on the other hand, are your traditional cubicles and they are characterized by muted colours, an absence of design, as well as a high degree of conformity.

If you pay close attention to the way open offices and closed offices are portrayed on screen, you will notice a few associations and as far as associations go, these are mostly true.

Open offices are associated with younger employees, software firms, a laidback culture, start-ups etc.

Closed offices, on the other hand, are associated with traditional organizations such as government offices, law firms, multinational firms etc. The work culture at these places tends to be a lot more office, stiff and subdued.

When picking an office design for your company, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Open Offices Have Their Pros and Cons

Open offices are great if you are an organization that is just starting out. They make it easy to communicate with people and can feel like a hive of activity. However, open offices can also be extremely distracting. Not everyone is blessed with laser-like focus and in an open office, there are distractions aplenty. Open offices often sacrifice privacy and quiet for hive-like activity. Some might find the lack of restrictions in an open office refreshing, but others might find it annoying and stressful.

Closed Offices Have Their Pros and Cons Too

Closed offices are great if you are an organization where employees tend to do more individual work than collaborative work. Frequent meetings with clients are also easier when they are done in closed offices where employees can meet clients in their rooms or in conference rooms. However, the downside is that is closed offices don’t make it very easy to get together with your colleagues or even lend themselves to impromptu discussions. Besides, there’s a tendency for closed offices to get dreary and suffocating because of the monotony of design.

Choose A Design That Matches The Culture You Are Aiming For

Let us face it. Some organizations are better suited to open office designs and some are not. If you are going to decide upon an office space, you have to take the culture of your organization into account and possibly what your employees think about the design as well. After all, office spaces are meant to encourage employees to work better, not make them feel stressed or distracted.

A Hybrid Design Is A Great Choice

If you really want to switch up the way things work at your organization and probably lead a sea change in terms of culture as well, then a hybrid office space design is the way to go. Combine the benefits of both an open office space and a closed office space. This way, there is a sense of space for employees to kick-back and relax as well as closed off areas or work stations that give other employees the structure they need.

Ultimately, it does not matter if you don’t have a slide in your office, quirky little conference rooms or beer on tap. What matters if if your employees can come into work everyday, be productive and come back the next day, engaged and raring to go.


While we can’t help you with office design, we can definitely help you with employee engagement! Request a demo today to see how Engagedly can help improve employee engagement at your organization!

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