Open Plan Office Space – Is it good for me?

Open Office Space in Mumbai

In a time long ago, office spaces were endless rows of cubicles with high partition walls where one could sit and pretend to work all day in a contained space, where interaction with other colleagues resulted in standing up, going over to your friend and having a chat or telling your colleague to keep it down in his private, but not so private space.

More recently open plan spaces became more popular (offices where you can attempt to be taking a stretch and mistakenly slap your colleague in the face. Yes, the kind without dividers and cubicles) was introduced to offices wherein some people enjoyed the freedom of cracking inside jokes with their best pal across the office and others terribly annoyed when one talks too loud shouting across the office.

Nothing is perfect.

The question we are asking today is, are open plan office spaces genuinely efficient for productivity or just another hindrance and should you consider it for your next office space in Mumbai?

Pros of Open Office Plan:

  • Open office design is believed to offer increased collaboration and enhance creativity in the workplace.
  • Issues are resolved more easily rather than going back and forth on emails.
  • The open design also motivates people to work when they find others around them focused and bringing results to the table.
  • The open office plan also helps relieve stress and anxiety by more easily building a team atmosphere.
  • The lack of partition walls also helps with adequate daylight which is one of the most important fundamentals of good office design.

Cons of Open Office Plan:

  • Less control over your own environment can be a hindrance to the workplace motto of getting work done. In an open office environment, the group culture of getting things done (or not getting things done) is contagious. If there are any issues or if you have a few rotten apples in your organization, it’s easier for this laziness, negative energy to spread in an office space and thus reducing productivity and getting your work done.
  • Lack of privacy to take sensitive calls when needed and having to make sure you are in a secure environment before you discuss investment strategies with your agent for example unless you want the entire office to know where your money goes. You’ll have to move around a bit more than having your own office space.
  • Distraction comes in many forms. And it may not always be noise. When you’re missing a deadline and typing rigorously when the aroma of butter chicken from three workstations away from the friend who eats “lunch” every two hours comes wafting through the air and you’re hungry again, and you realize with great freedom comes great responsibility. And bless your soul if your workstation is right next to the pantry. And let’s face it, everyone loves a friendly environment, but when it comes down to focus and results, that really loud guy discussing yesterdays match or the HR making announcements in the middle of your carefully drafted report just increases disturbance having you concentrating again on what you need to do. People are encouraged to communicate, that’s great. Not so great when it’s non-stop.

 

In short, if the nature of your job doesn’t demand for hours of solo concentration as much as it demands for collaboration and ideas, an open office space could very well be the perfect way to design your office and keep people motivated and energized. Ultimately it’s a call you & your organization have to take depending on the nature of the work and many offices use a combination of open office space and divided office spaces depending on the role of the job.