Cubicles or Open-Space Plans: Which is Best for Your Office Space?
Wed, 12 Aug 2015 | Written by Corporate Suites Staff
There is a great debate about which is better – open-space office plans or cubicles? As of late, the open-space plan has become more and more appealing to a variety of businesses, while the cubicle design is a tried and true method. Workers have conflicting opinions about the quality of both, and employers themselves have experienced heated debates between the two.
This can make deciding on the ideal method for you and your office difficult. Which is really better? Here, we will list the three things you must consider when deciding between an open-space plan and a cubicle design, and the pros and cons of each.
1. Consider Your Workers.
Each individual is unique in their working methods and their personal preferences. When designing an office, it’s important that your selection suits the unique set of individuals you’re employing, because the wrong choice can keep your business from functioning at its maximum potential and capacity – and even achieve the reverse. You must be sure to consider your employees’ strengths and weaknesses.
Pros: Studies have shown that introverts preform at their best when they’re able to seclude themselves away from crowds to concentrate. These workers are recommended as fast and efficient employees, but require privacy. A cubicle provides this necessary tool in a crowded workplace, allowing this type of employee to focus and avoid distractions.
Cons: Cubicles discourage interaction, making each employee an island. Employees that thrive on interaction will be handicapped, and even introverted employees can begin to feel enclosed and “caged,” not allowed out until the work is done. This can make your employees feel trapped and disconnected from their fellow workers, creating “tunnel vision” that stifles creativity.
There are many workers that feel their most creative and productive in a community environment. By having an open office space, it creates a social environment where everyone “works together.” This can encourage bonding and trust among your employees, creating collaboration and helping projects be finished in a timelier manner.
The greater the interaction, the greater the distraction. Even while going about normal work, your employees will create movement and noise that constantly draws the eye and attention of other employees. This can be a harmless action, such as standing to retrieve coffee, but that activity will keep your employees aware of their surroundings instead of concentrated on their work. This can lessen the quality of the work being produced and also its speed.
2. Consider Your Business Type.
Certain fields attract certain types of employees. Perhaps you run a company specializing in entertainment; it is likely many of your employees will have extrovert qualities. If your business focuses on journalism, it’s common for the majority of those workers to be introverted. While you are considering your employees and the best choice for them, take your business type into consideration.
Pros: If your business is very technical in nature, such as a telemarketing or banking, having a more clinical and confided environment can help encourage the technical-based focus required. This provides the privacy needed for handling delicate information or communicating with clients securely.
Additionally, cubicles allow employees to customize their environments to own needs. For creative businesses, the ability to add personal flare to a workspace can determine comfort, making employees produce faster and at greater quality. For technical businesses, wall space allows employees to hang graphs, charts, and other work-related documents to boost productivity.
Cons: While encouraging focus, an enclosed space also discourages interaction. It makes it difficult for employees to communicate with one another or collaborate on projects, which can slow productivity.
Pros: For more creative fields, the open-space style creates a friendly environment that makes employees feel more comfortable, encouraging creativity. As well as this, easy access to other co-workers allow employees to talk through ideas or obstacles – creating solutions, creating something new and unique, and delegating work at a fast pace. This can lead to a product that is the best of many minds.
Cons: Again, open-spaces cause distraction, and workers can waste valuable time talking rather than actually working. The lack of privacy also increases the chance of delicate information being leaked. If you run a company which deals with sensitive information, your clients must feel secure in order to share and handle this information.
3. Consider Your Working Style and Needs.
The work being done has a significant influence on the working method needed. Banks, for example, are known for being more clean and professional in nature to encourage focus and technical-based work, while more artistic companies feature colors and activity to encourage creativity.
Pros: Since they help your employees focus, cubicles encourage faster production. If your business habitually deals with tight deadlines, this will allow your workers to produce faster and more effectively by eliminating outside distractions that could halt production.
Cons: This privacy also allows workers the ability to engage in things outside of work, such as personal calls, surfing the internet, or playing games on their phone. With the chance of being caught removed, it makes it easier to avoid their work.
Pros: If your business requires many people to be working on the same project, an open-space design will allow them to communicate fast and effectively. While there are more distractions, it also encourages more dedication to the work at hand; as a public space, it’s difficult to surf the internet without detection. This discourages procrastination.
Cons: The lack of focus can slow production, as this constant communication can lead to more time being spent talking than actually working.
When choosing between an open-space office design and the classic cubicle look, there are many things to consider – all of which will have a profound result on your business and employees. By keeping these things in mind, you can tailor your choice to be the perfect selection for you.
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