With so many popular and conflicting opinions of the two most used office layout styles- the cubicle or the open office- it can be hard to decide which to chose. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list Pros and Cons of each:
Open Office Advantages:
About 70 percent of offices in the United States have an open office layout, making it the most popular. An open office layout with low or no partitions between work spaces can increase teamwork, information flow, and comradery between employees. Colleagues can turn to each other with questions or comments easily, without peeking over barriers or knocking on doors, making office interactions more informal and frequent. Creativity and ideas are easily bounced off one another, and employees report feeling more included and “in the know” about office events and initiatives.
Open Office Disadvantages:
With a high level of interaction and activity, an open office layout can create distractions and noise. It may be hard for employees to focus on their work and stay productive. Privacy is another big concern, with computer screens and other materials easily seen by others. Employees may also feel like they lack their own private work space. Some people feel more productive when left to their own devices, rather than being in a room with a lot of other colleagues. Overhearing others conversations that may be irrelevant to their work can cause confusion and a loss of productivity in employees, as well.
Privacy is the number one reason employees like cubicles, especially if they are working on sensitive or confidential information. Cubicles create few distractions in the workplace, while still encouraging some interaction. Employees enjoy being able to customize a space that feels like their own, and some employees work better alone. When employees work in a cubicle with one or two other colleagues, they can feel more productive than working in a room with 20 or more people. Cubicles offer more storage, so employees don’t have to carry their items home and back every day, and cubicles utilize space in an office very well.
Some cubicles can be very small, leaving room for only a chair and a small work station, which can leave employees feeling unsatisfied with their work environment. Cubicles can stifle creativity in employees, who feel like they can not freely interact with their coworkers. Cubicles as well have a reputation for being bland and stifling, leaving to a perceived loss of creativity. The cubicle layout itself can leave employees feeling like they are being hidden away, and that they are not a part of the business process.
With advantages and disadvantages to both layouts, either can be a great decision for your office building. The professional spectrum seemed to dislike cubicles for a long time, and so the open office layout was created. Very recently though, many people are voicing opinions against open office layouts. It is important to take into consideration what type of work is done in the office, as well as employee opinions before making a concrete decision.