The concept of open office layout in organisations is becoming quite popular and numerous offices are adopting this modern day layout. It is observed that open office layouts have been adopted by many organisations for its ample amount of advantages (De Been & Beijer, 2014). However, the effectiveness of open office layout is a debatable concept. Many believe open office comes with a lot of advantages. Whereas many also believe that open office layout comes with disadvantages that hampers the working environment of offices.
According to the study conducted by Jungsoo Kim and Richard de Dear (2013), the open office layout have relatively low scope for privacy. It is observed that open plan offices have a considerably low amount of sound privacy as there are no physical barriers to separate or segregate different sections of the organisation (Ayoko, Ashkanasy & Jehn, 2014). This results in disruption of privacy as the phone calls made in the office can be heard by everyone present in the office. In larger context, the computer screens accessed by workers can be seen by anyone. In many industries, such invasion of privacy could lead to legal issues for an organisation and can garner bad reputation for it. However, on the other hand some researchers claim that the flow of communication between the employees considerably accelerates as a result of an open office layout (Inamizu, 2013). The absence of any physical structure tend to motivate employees to communicate and exchange information freely. This even enhances the collaborative spirit among employees since the flow of communication is swift. In addition to the pros of open office layouts, it is evident that the setup of open office plan is cost effective compared to the traditional office setups (Ornstein, 2013). Along with this, the open office layout is more flexible in nature since it does not execute a single layout. It provides a company the efficiency of fitting employees into the workspace as result of its open space structure (Bakker et al., 2017).
In contradictory to the above mentioned pros, the concept of open office has been argued by many to be hampering the functioning of the office environment. One of the most widely spread argument is that open office layout give rise to increased amount of distraction level among employees. The structure of an open office is such that it barely gives employees any personal space. The open space of offices lead to distractions among employees. It is observed that the productivity level among workers in an open office layout is comparatively less than in a cubicle or private office structure (Danielsson et al., 2015). The increases amount of distractions among employees hinders the productivity level of them. In addition to this, it has been observed that the staff members belonging to an open office are more prone to have a negative effect on their health compared to other office layout (Shafaghat et al., 2014). With the absence of any walls or cubicles in an open office, it is more likely that an employee suffering from any contagious disease could spread it to the other colleagues as well. This again would have a negative impact on the productivity of the employees working for the company. Additionally, it has been evident that in an open office setting the level of stress among employees are high compared to the traditional office setting (Shafaghat et al., 2014). It is observed that employees tend to feel that they need to appear more productive and tend to assign themselves into multitasking. This results in increased amount of pressure among employees and could often lead to dissatisfaction in them.
However, the open office layout could facilitate a good relationship between the employees and the supervisors. One of the significant attribute of open office plan is the omission of any structural barrier in office. This results in an environment where every worker are setup in an open space without any physical disruption. The supervisors would get better access of their employees functioning and could guide them thoroughly. The flow of communication between the two can also extensively increase due to an open space structure in office. One of the pros of an open office layout is the trendiness of its concept. The popularity of open office design have lead to have a positive impact on the others. It is observed that due to the trendiness of this concept, it puts a positive impression on clients, owners and others compared to the traditional cubicle setting. Another addition to the list of pros is that open office designs have proved to be an excellent setting for enhanced teamwork. The level of interactions in open offices are more and as a result of which it enhances the teamwork spirit among employees.
The concept of open office have been argues and researched by many for finding out its effectiveness. Many studies show the ample amount of advantages as a result of an open office setting while on the other hand, many studies indicates the downside of open office. However, its popularity cannot be denied among numerous offices. It is also believed that open office design could be favourable for a small or starting up companies. However, there are evidences of open office design for huge companies as well. The concept of open office comes with both pros and cons, and despite of it there are numerous amount of organisations that are opting for this trending office setting. The pros that are enumerated above are of greater impact in developing the company into the heights of success. Companies cannot deny these features that an open office layout offers and as a result of which many companies are upgrading themselves from the traditional office designs into an advanced layout of open office. However, the disadvantages that come along with the concept of open office can disrupt a company to change its mind to upgrade. Therefore, it cannot be denied that open office concept are equipped with advantages only instead comes along with disadvantages as well.
Ayoko, O. B., Ashkanasy, N. M., & Jehn, K. A. (2014). 22. approaches to the study of employees’ territoriality, conflict, emotions and well-being. Handbook of conflict management research, 363.
Danielsson, C. B., Bodin, L., Wulff, C., & Theorell, T. (2015). The relation between office type and workplace conflict: A gender and noise perspective. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 42, 161-171.
de Bakker, C., Aries, M., Kort, H., & Rosemann, A. (2017). Occupancy-based lighting control in open-plan office spaces: A state-of-the-art review. Building and Environment, 112, 308-321.
De Been, I., & Beijer, M. (2014). The influence of office type on satisfaction and perceived productivity support. Journal of Facilities Management, 12(2), 142-157.
Inamizu, N. (2013). Positive effect of non-territorial office on privacy. Annals of Business Administrative Science, 12(3), 111-121.
Kim, J., & De Dear, R. (2013). Workspace satisfaction: The privacy-communication trade-off in open-plan offices. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 36, 18-26.
Ornstein, S. (2013). 25 ‘Impression management through office design. Impression management in the organization, 411.
Shafaghat, A., Keyvanfar, A., Lamit, H., Mousavi, A., & Majid, M. Z. A. (2014). Open plan office design features affecting staff’s health and well-being status. Jurnal Teknologi (Sciences & Engineering), 70(7), 83-8.