Open office spaces
Pros and cons of open office spaces
There are several things to consider when using open office landscapes.
Are you thinking about using an open office space? If so, there are several things to consider before you jump into it. At first glance, it may seem like a fabulous idea, but there are, however, both advantages and disadvantages to open office spaces.
In this blog post, we outline the pros and cons of open office spaces. In addition to this, we come up with some good ideas about getting around the disadvantages if you choose to use an open office landscape.
Benefits of open office spaces
We start by looking at the benefits of using open office spaces. We have chosen to address three different benefits of these types of office landscapes.
Better social relations between colleagues
The first advantage of open offices is that they can enable better social relationships between employees. It is much easier to interact and chat to each other when sitting in the same room. This will help to create increased unity between employees.
Open office spaces can, therefore, help to develop a stronger bond between colleagues, which enables increased well-being and a healthier working environment. So in that regard, open offices are definitely an advantage.
Better opportunity to collaborate
Within open landscapes, you can also expect better collaboration; it becomes easier to collaborate across departments and positions when employees are located in the same office environment.
When collaboration becomes stronger, it means that tasks are solved more efficiently. It is easier to utilise each other's competencies across positions, which leads on to the next benefit.
Easier to share knowledge
The third advantage of open offices landscapes, is that it is much easier to pass on knowledge between employees. If the employees are in their respective offices, they may often resort to writing an email when disseminating knowledge. An email, however, is not always descriptive enough when it comes to knowledge-sharing.
When you choose to use an open office landscape, it is easier for employees to share knowledge with each other. It is more straightforward to talk to each other across desks, and it can be easier to convey the right knowledge more precisely to the recipient.
Disadvantages of open office landscapes
We have outlined three benefits of using open office landscapes, but there are also some disadvantages to this solution. We now present you with three disadvantages of open offices.
Problems with indoor climate
When you have a large office, you can experience problems with the indoor climate, as there will be many people gathered in the same room, which can result in ‘hot’ and ‘heavy’ air.
A bad indoor climate can affect your employees' workflow, as it is simply not a comfortable environment to be in. Employees can, amongst other things, feel dizzy and worn out, which can often result in headaches. In single-person offices, you will not experience the same problems with the indoor climate as you do in open offices.
Rising noise level
When a lot of people are gathered in the same room, it affects the noise level. Large rooms are known to have many different types of noises, such as ringing phones, colleagues talking to each other, and so on.
Not all employees are equally good at dealing with a noisy work environment. If there is too much noise, it can be difficult for some employees to concentrate on their work tasks.
Disruptive working environment
A large office environment can often be a typically disruptive one for many. For example, people may wander back and forth from their desks, which can be distracting. Disruption can also be caused by employees who fail to take into account the needs of others who are trying to work.
Finding solutions to the disadvantages
Whilst there are drawbacks to open office spaces, this doesn’t mean that it is completely impossible to get something good from working in an open office landscape; you can simply acknowledge these disadvantages and introduce some measures to reduce them. If you do so, you can easily benefit from implementing an open office workplace.
If we take the indoor climate in an open office, for example, it is important to make a dedicated effort to improve it. The easy solution is to remember to thoroughly ventilate the office several times a day.
As this can be hard to remember, and the seasons can sometimes make it problematic to ventilate effectively, it can be an advantage to have a ventilation system installed. This way, the air will not feel nearly as ‘heavy’, because the ventilation system will ensure that the air is 'cleaned'.
If we look more closely at the noise level in large offices, you can also make efforts to solve this problem. For instance, you can make sure that there are places where employees can make a phone call without disturbing others in the room. Reduced noise levels can also be solved by having smaller offices which can be used by employees if they need to have a longer discussion about something.
By having adjoining rooms, or offices, where you can talk undisturbed, you can easily reduce the noise level in an open office landscape.
Last but not least, you can also easily create a less disruptive work environment if you do have an open office. Again, it is an advantage to have access to smaller offices which employees can go to if their work task involves more movement or noise that may be distracting to others. In addition to this, it can also be a place where an employee can work without interruptions if they need quietness to concentrate on a task.
Furthermore, it is also important that you make it part of the company’s culture for employees to respect each other. It should be customary that when an employee receives a phone call, they answer it somewhere else in order not to disturb any colleagues. This can be a great opportunity to use a meeting box, so the call recipient has the option of going somewhere else to take their call. These are small things that can help create a working environment without too much disruption.
By taking these steps, you can easily get a lot of advantages from creating an open office space in your company, without it negatively affecting your employees.