Is open plan office design coming to an end?

open plan office
If your open plan office the best thing ever, or are you ready for a change?

Of all the office trends that have come and gone over the last decade, the most persistent, and most applied, is the open office. Employers jumped on this trend, citing expectations of increased collaboration, creative thinking and productivity.

However, the benefit for employers themselves was usually the main reason for opening up the workspace, as it allowed for a far more economical use of space and, in many cases, allowed bosses to “keep an eye on” their workforce.

Now that many office have been transformed using this model, studies are showing that open offices can actually have a negative effect. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the open office, and what you might be able to do to combat some of those negative impacts.

Pros and cons of the open office space

One of the main benefits of the open office workspace is cost. More traditional offices, with separate rooms and the extra doors, walls and windows that come with them, require more expense in terms of materials.

It’s also a far less economical use of space – you can get less desks into the same floorplan if they’re all divided off into rooms. On top of that, they also require more maintenance and harbour all kinds of clutter.

Open offices reduce clutter and maintenance and, it must be said, prevent the sense of division that comes of having teams sectioned off in separate rooms.

However, open offices are notoriously noisy and full of distraction. There’s less privacy, which has a direct correlation with increased stress in workers – and open plan offices see more sickness absence as germs, colds and flus spread rapidly through the workforce.

Should you go back to the traditional model?

While the downsides of open office working seem to suggest that we should look backwards to the traditional model of the office, a new trend that’s emerging might be the answer.

Hybrid offices, or floorplans that mix the open office with its traditional counterpart, are increasingly being used. The hybrid office contains open plan working for the majority of workers but acoustic shielding is used to reduce noise and breakout areas are provided for allowing staff to get away from their desks and meet together in comfort.

Small, bookable office rooms are provided for when staff need to meet with clients or if they need some privacy and peace to concentrate on a sensitive or complex task.

Because the hybrid office allows for choice, it is also seen to reduce some of the stress that comes from feeling as though you’re always being watched – instead, workers are given the freedom to map out their own day. If this is followed through into working culture, it gives staff more sense of autonomy and trust.

Modus Pro Cantilever Desks can help you create the perfect hybrid office

Modus Pro Cantilever Desks are an ideal choice if you’re considering the hybrid office space option. These desks are versatile enough to work in an open plan environment as well as breakout areas, private offices and meeting rooms.

Tidy, integrated cable management keeps clutter down and with a range of desktop shapes and finishes, the Modus Pro Cantilever Desks will suit any office design. You can browse the full range here, order colour samples and talk to our sales advice team for help in choosing the perfect range.

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Author: John