Open plan vs traditional office space: what’s right for your business?

When it comes to office design, it can be tricky to know what’s right for your business. While many companies favour a modern, open plan layout, others prefer to stick to convention with a more traditional design.

To help you suss out which one is best suited for you and your business, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.


Open plan office design


The pros

Improved communication

In an open plan office, it’s no secret that the lack of walls and partitions makes it easier for colleagues to communicate. In fact, some employees might find that they don’t even need to pick up the phone or move from their desk in order to speak to those around them.


Increased collaboration

Since employees are able to communicate more easily, they are more likely to share ideas and hold impromptu discussions. This can increase collaboration between workers who may not necessarily be in the same team, which in turn, can help lift motivation and morale across the office.


Reduced costs

An open plan office could seriously benefit your company’s bottom line too. This type of layout tends to be much more cost-efficient due to the fact it can accommodate many workers, and this setup is usually more economical in terms of electricity, heating and air conditioning.


The cons

Increased noise levels

In an open office space, employees are able to chat freely, meaning that noise levels can increase. This can pose an issue for those who may prefer to work in quiet conditions, and the distraction of a noiser environment it could lead to a dip in productivity.


A lack of privacy

Privacy can become an issue in an open plan office. The lack of walls and partitions means staff members are unable to work in complete confidentiality due to the fact that their computer screens are on full view to those around them. They may struggle to take important phone calls in privacy too.


An unhappy workforce

Working in close proximity to others can be frustrating for some employees. Disagreements over the temperature of the office to whether or not the windows should be open can cause conflict between workers, leading to a frustrated, unhappy workforce.


Traditional office design


The pros

Limited distractions

In a traditional layout where employees have their own cubicle, distractions are much more limited. Workers are able to focus on the task at hand without being interrupted by the rest of the office which in turn, can lift productivity.


Improved security

Especially for those who deal with sensitive and confidential data, traditional office design allows employees to work in privacy without compromising security. Within their own cubicle, they are able to keep information away from others with ease.


A personal touch

If an employee has their own private space, they may be more inclined to personalise it with photographs, potted plants and artwork. This can make workers feel more comfortable at their desks, which can help boost morale.


The cons

A lack of employee interaction

The presence of walls and partitions can limit interaction between employees. This can stifle collaboration, leaving workers feel isolated and dampening the overall morale and motivation of the office.


Unused space

Having an office split into separate cubicles could mean that a lot of space goes to waste - especially if you have more cubicles than employees. As a result, you could end up wasting money on space you just don’t need.


High maintenance

A traditional office layout with multiple rooms often means this type of environment is much more high maintenance. You may find it takes a lot of time, money and effort to stay on top of the upkeep of the space.

It can be difficult to say whether an open plan or traditional office space is best, but it can help to take the advantages and disadvantages of each into consideration to help you create the perfect workspace for your employees.

Pall Mall Estates have a wide range of low cost commercial properties across the UK. Take a look at our available spaces here or get in touch with our experienced team here.