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

by Jacqueline Martinez Nov 10,2022

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

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 are your traditional cubicles. These have muted colors, the absence of design, and a high degree of conformity.

Also Read: The Importance of Workplace Environment in Employee Engagement

If you pay close attention to the way open offices and closed offices appear in the media, you will notice a few associations.

Open offices are commonly found in workplaces with younger employees, software firms, or workplaces with a laid-back culture.

Closed offices are usually associated with traditional organizations such as government offices, law firms, and multinational firms. 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 has 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 become easier in closed offices. Employees can meet clients in their rooms or in conference rooms. However, the downside is that 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, the design of office spaces should be in a way that encourages employees to work better, not make them feel stressed or distracted.

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 workstations 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 is if your employees can come to work every day, be productive and come back the next day, engaged and raring to go.

good office design

Jacqueline Martinez
Director of Marketing

Jacqueline Martinez is the Director of Marketing at Engagedly, where she leads initiatives to fuel the marketing-to-sales pipeline through strategic content management, revenue operations, and thoughtful mentoring. She is a growth-focused marketing executive with extensive experience driving multi-million-dollar revenues across SaaS, technology, real estate, oil & gas, and financial services industries.

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