3 Disadvantages of Open Office Floor Plans

Busy Open Office

In theory, open office floor plans seem like the way to go – they are more affordable and scalable, often touted as fostering greater collaboration and communication – but in practice, they rarely live up to the hype. Here are the three biggest disadvantages of the open office floor plan.

Why Open Office Plans Don’t Work

The inability to personalize your own space, the lack of privacy, and abundance of distractions are just a few of the things that make open office floor plans less than appealing for employees. Not only do employees report being more irritable and stressed, but research has proven that productivity levels and creativity wane, while sick days have a tendency to skyrocket.

3 Key Disadvantages of Open Office Floor Plans

1. It’s Hard to Focus

In an open office layout, everything is a distraction. From something as simple as coworkers coming and going from their desks to someone trying to fix a jam at the printer, an open office is full of visual noise.

Add multiple phone conversations, the crackling of a granola bar wrapper, different music coming from different computers throughout the room – and it’s a wonder any work gets done.

Even smells, such as your neighbor’s lunch or a co-worker’s overpowering cologne, can be unavoidable and equally distracting in an open office layout.

Stuck in an open office space surrounded by distractions? Here are a few ways to tune them out and stay focused at work!

2. Nobody Wants to Talk

While open office plans are believed to improve communication, they often have the opposite effect.

Studies have shown that employees are actually less likely to chat with co-workers in an open office setting. For one, there’s no privacy – the whole office can hear your conversation. It’s also disruptive to others in the room.

And perhaps the biggest reason that co-workers communicate less in an open office layout is the notion that “big brother is watching.” Employees fear that they will be perceived as not having enough work to do if they are seen talking with colleagues.

3. It’s Downright Unhealthy

Open office plans actually lead to more sick days. In fact, one study found that employees in an open office had 62% more sick absences than those in a traditional office layout.

When everyone is sharing the same space, it is significantly harder to avoid germs and exposure to illness. Just one rogue sneeze or cough can wipe out your whole team, or be passed around the office for months.

Not only is this frustrating for employees, but it can hurt business when you have multiple people out on sick leave at the same time. Even the stress of constant noise can affect employee health, leading to high blood pressure, insomnia and weakened immune systems.

Trying to avoid the germs spreading around your cubicles? Put some of these tips for avoiding office sickness into action in your workplace!

Time to Re-Think Your Office Space?

When it comes to deciding on an office floor plan, it’s important to consider the type of business you have, as well as the type of employees you want to attract and retain. While an open office floor plan may be ideal for a call center or sales floor, if your line of work requires quiet, independent study, a mix of private offices and shared public spaces for meetings and collaboration might make more sense.

Looking for new office space near Boston? If so, we invite you to check out The Lakeside Park. Our leasing agent can help you select which office configuration works best for your business and customize the space just for you.

Whether it’s an open floor plan, individual offices, furnished executive suites or a temporary lease, The Lakeside Park has the widest selection of affordable office space near Boston. Request a tour or call (781) 557-5555 for more information about our available office rentals.

Not sure what type of office space is right for your organization? Review this list of key things to consider as you’re determining which office set up and layout will work best for your business.