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Office trends are constantly changing, but the trend that many companies are focusing on currently is incorporating an open layout into their office design. There has been a fair amount of both praise and criticism about this trend, but using an open layout design effectively depends on whether you do it correctly.

Pros:

More Seating for Less Space

According to 512 Technology, open seating is popular among tech companies because it can increase the amount of seating in the same amount of space and encourage teamwork among employees.

officetrend_openlayoutAttractive to New and Old Employees

It’s also mentioned by 512 Technology that the technology company, Dell, believes having modern, flexible workspaces can help recruit millennial workers who prefer to have a comfortable and collaborative workspace. Using this layout can also encourage teamwork and boost morale because it’s a more comfortable and natural setting. People can be more motivated to work long hours if they are working around others in a comfortable and open office environment that feels more like home than a cubicle.

Cost Effective

Money is always a factor to consider when purchasing furniture for your office. Furniture designed for an open layout such as large desks can accommodate multiple employees and save you money. With a desk that can be used by multiple people you won’t need to buy a desk for every individual employee, which is often extremely costly.

To incorporate more seating for the same amount of space, consider an L-shaped desk. It’s large enough for multiple employees to collaborate at and often has many storage components within arm’s reach of each employee.

If your office space can fit a much larger desk, the U-shaped desk is a perfect addition. It can accommodate multiple employees at one desk and has more storage than a L-shaped desk, often coming with a wardrobe and other storage area attachments. A U-shaped desk can also work well with a desk hutch when you need additional storage space.

Investing in L-shaped or U-shaped desks for a multipurpose workspace will give you the same amount of seating and take up less space than individual desks.

Cons:

Stress-Inducing

An open floor plan can be stressful and increase feelings of anxiety in the workplace, especially among introverts. Introverts prefer to interact with others when it’s on their own terms and in their own time. When introverts feel frustrated or stressed they often want to escape to a quiet space. Dell Technologies recently incorporated walled conference rooms and private meeting spaces to provide “quiet spaces” within the otherwise open office layout. If your office has windows, consider using natural daylight to create a more peaceful environment.

officetrend_employeesAnti-Productive

According to the Harvard Business Review, a study conducted by Steelcase and Ipsos in 2014 reported that employees lost an average of 86 minutes of productive time in an open layout office because of noise distractions such as cell phone ringing, coworker conversation, and other loud noise interruptions.

Spreading of Germs

The layout of your office could be negatively affecting your health as well. In an open office layout, everything and everyone is quite literally out in the open. If someone in your office comes down with the flu or a cold, the germs can be easily spread to other co-workers much more quickly than if employees all had private offices. In an open office, employees are sharing desk space, using the same door handles, and breathing in the same air. One way to avoid spreading a sickness in an open office is to encourage the use of hand sanitizer and to ask sick employees to work from home until they are no longer ill.

When it comes to designing your office, keep in mind what furniture and layout plan will work best for your employees’ needs while also representing your brand.

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