Open-floor offices remain the proverbial talk-of-the-town for businesses looking to maximize space and employee morale while minimizing costs and outdated work structures. Even with more than half of employees in an Oxford study citing they enjoy the congeniality and laid-back nature of open-concept office spaces, naysayers point to the subsequent jump in noise distractions as a reason to discredit the design trend’s hype.
Contemporary open-office designs and spaces can have the best of both worlds — friendly, expansive floor plans hacking collaboration and employee moods, but still outfitted with adaptive, private workstations. This open-office hybrid layout maintains productivity and privacy while still lending all the advantages of wide, unrestricted space — strengths that put both employees and their managers at ease. Here are 10 of them.
1. They’re Inviting
Open floor plan offices prioritize worker collaboration and innovative interactions. Yes, we throw these words around so often with open floor plans that many drown them out — but that doesn’t negate the reality of their inviting impression and its related psychological benefits.
Study after study has found the warm, approachable atmosphere an open-concept office layout curates does boost employee morale. More specifically, it leads employees to feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves, more able to connect the dots between roles and domains and see those roles as holistically supported.
What’s more, open offices improve levels of knowledge sharing, the concept that employees are more freely exchanging subject matter expertise. Better knowledge-sharing flows are associated with more cooperative and high-functioning teams. This, in turn, means well-rounded and informed employees who can make sharper business decisions, all because the open floor plan invites them to do so.
2. They’re Versatile
Open-concept floor plans lend offices much-needed yet often-neglected flexibility. In today’s world of changing work trends, employee expectations and evolving remote-work technologies, a company layout you can tweak and adapt is one that will withstand the test of time.
First, dropping rows of stationary cubicles for simple tables or desks innately makes that space more amenable. Furniture is reconfigurable, and in some cases, you can shift it to a different part of the office depending on in-the-moment needs.
Furthermore, open office spaces allow businesses to implement alternative workstations. Many herald alternative workstations as the future of the business office, where instead of private cubicles and static meeting rooms, offices come furnished with stand-alone booths, multifaced furniture and breakout modular offices — all of which should be mobile.
Some of the best examples of an alternative workstation’s versatility in an open office include our SnapCab® Pods. Pods offer private individual or collaborative work booths employees can access as needed, with different sizes and seating options you can move around as needed.
3. They’re Cost-Effective
Another advantage to open office spaces is their cost competitiveness. For businesses in their early days or those with tied-up equity, finding ways to maximize your current space without sacrificing productivity is vital to maintaining a leaner bottom line.
The cost-effectiveness introduced to a business with an open floor plan comes in a couple of forms:
- Construction: Companies constructing a new location or business from the ground up save up-front when they opt for a majority open layout. This is intuitive, as these spaces require fewer walls and internal scaffolding to create the rooms and partitions associated with a traditional office.
- Rent: Organizations renting their office space can better utilize what they have through an open, unencumbered layout. Not only do open-concept rentals offer a cost-per-square-footage advantage, but they’re also more versatile. You can fill, arrange and rearrange the space as you see fit — as opposed to being forced into static room molds with less functionality but the same price tag.
- Overhead Costs: Overhead costs like utilities will be reduced in an open concept layout. Heating and cooling come centralized in one overarching system. Other lessened expenses include electricity, since open-concept offices receive more natural light.
- Office Equipment Expenses: Fewer walls in your office layout mean fewer cubicle partitions, clunky desks and repetitive office appliances to buy up-front and place in individual departments, like copiers and printers. You can centralize equipment in one collaborative area for all to access — this also makes it easier for office managers to oversee these devices.
4. They’re Horizontal — Especially If Upper Management Embraces Them
Private and corner offices reinforce vertical organizational hierarchy. While a company needs a logical chain of command to function, they don’t necessarily need the space to emphasize it.
With open-concept spaces, a company chooses to display a sense of collaboration and worker agency. Regardless of actual seniority, staffers are encouraged to take ownership of their tasks and make empowered decisions without executive micromanagement. Senior managers share the same general space with their team — and their team’s teams — on down the line. If static or removed offices do exist, they’re reserved only for C-level executives whose daily decisions and communications require a tad bit more privacy.
As a middle ground for middle and upper management, SnapCab’s Pod L is large enough that it offers room for up to six. Many have also chosen to fabricate the Pod L into a private office for appointed personnel within an open concept office without losing the spirit and integrity of the floor plan. Plus, with its sound-absorbing acoustic panels and glass front wall and door, noises stay to a minimum but those inside are still visible and accessible to the rest of the team.
5. They’re Contemporary
It’s undeniable that open-concept office floorplans and design layouts have become the defining corporate trend. Like any trend, though, they have their pros and cons. Yet unequivocally, the open office is one that’s stylish, smart and modern.
These office aesthetics are not to be taken lightly. Companies with contemporary, appealing designs and building details are more likely to retain talent, see lower rates of turnover and employ people who report higher levels of worker engagement and satisfaction.
The trick lies in hacking an office’s surroundings and environment to boost the very behaviors you want from workers. Traits like positivity, creativity and efficiency are far likelier with the contemporary design hacks open-concept layouts court:
- Green or Biophilic Features: Plenty of plants and greenery in an office go a long way to reduce levels of worker stress and anxiety. Other “green” features — such as the use of natural materials throughout a building, like wood and stone, or curved rather than straight lines — further amplify an office’s calming environment.
- Natural Lighting: Even buildings that don’t have the luxury of expansive, floor-to-ceiling windows can find ways to maximize natural light. Install plenty of reflective, glossy surfaces, clear glass and even mirrors throughout the office to let light permeate as far as possible.
- Diverse Workstations: A mix of shared, private, public, relaxed and collaborative breakout work areas are the key to balancing employee happiness with productivity.
- Color Schemes: Colors produce a range of physiological and emotional triggers in humans. We can utilize them throughout the office to help curate beneficial moods and enhance workers’ energy levels.
6. They’re Scalable
Another distinct advantage of open office spaces over traditional ones is their scalability. As your business grows, so does the office, as open-concept layouts provide ample room to accommodate new employees, desks and furniture. All it takes is a little creative reconfiguration — not a total renovation.
In many competitive real estate markets, the costs to relocate or renovate render these choices impossible for most businesses. Whether a business rents or owns doesn’t let them off the hook. Expensive upgrades in a rental contract mean renegotiating the terms and conditions of your lease. On the other hand, even if you own the structure or land where your business is, the list of legal, compliance and code standards to meet is enough to give even determined business owners second thoughts.
None of this is particularly attractive for businesses across industry types, as internal construction projects can risk everything from business service downtimes to higher rates of absenteeism. An office layout scalable from the beginning best mitigates these concerns.
7. They Boost Social Interactions
Introverts and extroverts alike reap health benefits from social interaction — so much so that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has for years recommended offices find ways to boost sociability within the nine-to-five grind.
Now, this doesn’t mean a work culture where everyone hangs out and nothing gets done. But it does disrupt the habitual trap of employees walking into work, burrowing into their cubicles and remaining there until day’s end. Both the physical and mental tolls of this kind of environment have been shown to decrease cardiovascular health and increase feelings of stress, loneliness and workplace withdrawal within employees, while sociability and functional amounts of interpersonal time do the opposite.
Open office spaces can encourage social interactions in strategic places within their layouts. These means dedicated collaborative and social areas balanced with designated quiet workstations, ones that are removed from the hustle and carry sound-reducing technology. This shows employees there’s a time and a place for everything — including interpersonal enjoyment.
8. They Improve Physical and Mental Health
If this seems too good to be true, think again. Open-concept offices provide keen psychological advantages to most employees that boost their physical and mental well-being — and it does so in some surprising ways:
- Improved Design Features: To begin, open office spaces tend to include design elements like higher ceilings and larger windows. This means more natural light and more access to appealing window views for workers, which has keen mental benefits such as boosting energy, positivity and decreasing feelings of burnout while at work.
- More Types of Workstations: Open office spaces allow for broader workstation types and flexibility. This is a critical spatial element that gives workers the autonomy and flexibility to perform their tasks in places most innately productive for them — not relegate them to a static desk day in and day out.
- Increased Staff Interaction: As mentioned earlier, open-concept offices allow more organic and frequent interactions to occur. The benefits of this cannot be overstated in the office. Research has shown that employees with strong connections and even best friends in the office are less likely to fall ill and more likely to produce consistent, high-quality work.
In total, these elements combine to create a work environment that combats feelings of loneliness and worker solitude. A business that does this is one that sees higher task performance, enhanced creativity and more innovative decision-making — all because the open space prompts it.
9. They’re More Brand-Stimulating
Now, this can quickly go overboard. Open office spaces that haven’t been designed with sound-control features and attention to workstation diversity can be too overly stimulating, with noise distractions, brand logos, colors and saturated workplace density bombarding your personnel.
However, when done right, open offices court visually and aesthetically enhanced floorplans with more opportunities for branded personality. What’s more, you can use them with an eye for marketing. Consider the impact you make on prospective clients or customers when they enter an on-brand, inviting and dynamic corporate space. What kinds of impressions can you curate, and what do they say about the personality, pulse and life of your company? With an open office space, you can tie these visuals together and bring them to the forefront.
10. They Better Showcase Corporate Values
Corporate values are the guiding personality behind a company. They have functional and tactical uses, though most importantly, corporate values should remain relevant for a company across its entire lifecycle — not just fitting its image today or tomorrow, but across the decades. If a company doesn’t see its current mission being important a few years from now, then it hasn’t identified the right purpose.
The advantages of open offices culminate in giving your space the ability to showcase its true self, boldly and openly. It immerses not only your workers in that mission but visitors, customers and prospective employees alike.
Open layout offices more naturally incorporate and let you highlight value-aligned aesthetics. From the minute they step into the office space, open concepts allow things like brand colors, logos, slogans, artwork and other visuals to be seen regardless of vantage point. They also allow your company to proudly display its corporate values — whether literally, writing them on a wall or panels, or imbuing the company’s personality into the style of office furniture, layout and decor. This is inherently harder to display if the office is chopped up and separated by walls and departments.
Overall, the branding potential of open office spaces sharpens your corporate identity and lets form match function. Your office can strike this important note best with an open concept.
SnapCab’s Paneling Systems for Your Hybrid Open Office Solution
Too many businesses still frame open office spaces regarding what must be given up — not what’s gained. Your business or office space doesn’t have to weigh a hefty list of pros and cons with an open concept layout. In fact, it can provide all the benefits above — and more — when you have the right spatial product partner.
SnapCab is here to be just that. Our unique panel products give you best-in-design office solutions, with three sizes of Pod® booth workstations outfitted for privacy, productivity and noise reduction in an open-concept office, as well as a dynamic Portal® multimedia wall to enhance the work that gets done.
We’d love to discuss how SnapCab Pods and Portals can benefit your open-concept office. Get in touch with us today.