At Key Interiors, our clients often ask us: “is open office design right for my business?”
While this is certainly an important question, it’s one that has one of those “it all depends” type of answers. First, we’ll provide an overview of the open office concept, and then highlight some reasons why it may or may not be the right design for your business.
What is Open Office Design?
As the name suggests, open office design is one in which the interior floorplan design seeks to maximize large, open spaces and minimize smaller, enclosed rooms and spaces, such as private offices and cubicles. While they aren’t new, large companies like Google (which calls its signature open office design approach the “Google’s Nest”) have made the concept much more popular in recent years.
The Benefits of Open Office Design
Generally, the benefits that businesses seek (and expect) when they utilize open office design are essentially related to collaboration and communication. Rather than having individual employees and small groups set up their silos or work on their “disconnected islands of activity”, open office design literally puts everyone (or most people) in the same vicinity – which promotes interaction.
Deciding Whether Open Office is Right For Your Business
With the above in mind, we can return to the question that started us off: is open office design right for your business?
As noted, this not a question that can be answered with a standard response. Your business is unique, and space planning decisions shouldn’t be made without referencing key factors such as functionality, efficiency, and of course, cost. Yet with this being said, here are a few pointers to move you in the right direction.
An Open Office Design Might be Right For Your Business If:
- You want to encourage what Google calls “casual collisions” – i.e. cross-functional individuals and teams spontaneously engaging and informally sharing insights, news, updates, etc.
- You’re looking to save costs through more efficient use of lighting, lower HVAC/utility costs, and possibly even lower security costs as well.
- You’re aiming to attract Millennials into your workforce, who of all cohort groups seem to be the most excited about the open office design concept.
- Your current use of office space isn’t efficient and optimized (i.e. some areas are over-utilized, others under-utilized).
An Open Office Design Might Not be Right For Your Business If:
- Your employees need to be able to focus and concentrate in order to maintain quality. For example, engineers, architects and others may find the environment distracting and stressful.
- Your employees are constantly on the phone (or web cam) with prospects or customers, and would find the background noise disruptive or annoying.
- Your employees are constantly working with confidential and private data, or having sensitive conversations with clients and customers, such that an open office design could lead to data leaks or security concerns.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are both potential advantages and disadvantages an open office design. To learn more and explore your unique options, contact the interior solutions specialists at Key Interiors today. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses maximize the advantages of open office design, and mitigate or eliminate the drawbacks.