Pros and cons of an open office layout design

Pros and cons of an open office layout design

Work from home (WFH) and other hybrid work schemes accelerated by the pandemic, along with the shrinking size of tech and its broader connectivity, have freed us from some of the constraints of geography and fixed office spaces. 

The rise of hybrid working is dictating how office spaces look and how we use them. With increased transient workers, the office will still remain an essential part of a business structure. Companies will look to maximize their available space to support this new type of work to ensure it is purposeful and productive. 

The open-concept approach to office layout design remains on trend, but is it suitable for all types of businesses? Let’s explore the open office pros and cons to help you determine whether it is the best fit for your business operations.

What are open office layout pros?

Less Barriers Means More Communication

There are several benefits of an open office layout. An open office layout design encourages teamwork, collaboration, and creativity. The lack of physical barriers naturally boosts communication and makes for a more approachable work environment. 

Open office layouts are also great for freelancers who would otherwise work from home. Renting a workspace in an open office environment (such as a coworking space), gives self-employed workers the chance to communicate and network with other creatives, which can be beneficial to their respective businesses.

High Flexibility

With an open office layout, you don’t have to commit to a single layout. Open workspaces are designed to maximize flexibility and can be configured to suit your business needs. You can fit more employees into an open space and it can accommodate your company’s growth over time. In traditional layouts, you would have to expand the office by renting multiple floors or buildings.

WeWork’s full suite of amenities and beautifully designed spaces are fully customizable, in that floors can be set up to accommodate open-floor, safely-spaced work or closed-door, individual offices.

Open office layout designs can offer multifunctional shared spaces composed of both sitting and standing work desks, group spaces with large tables for targeted collaboration, and even moveable dividers for private spaces that can all be configured to match your business operations. 

For remote workers and freelancers, shared open offices don’t require any type of commitment whatsoever. WeWork offers convenient day passes so you can simply come and go as you please. Nothing is more flexible than that!

Cost Efficiency 

Open office layouts are generally more economical than traditional layouts, which feature many single cubicles and desks that can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars each. Open-plan offices are often furnished with large tables that can fit as many as 10 workers for the same cost as one cubicle, reducing office expenses and furniture upkeep.

Many companies are opting to rent fully furnished spaces with open office layouts located inside dedicated workspace buildings. These types of office spaces already include access to high-speed internet, full office equipment, common areas, free refreshments, and professional cleaning services. Since this option is much cheaper than leasing an entire building, floor, or office rental, you can invest more money into the company as it grows.

Better Aesthetics

Open office layout designs simply look better. Clean lines, open spaces, natural light, and less clutter all contribute to the feeling of expansion and flow. There’s a visual of less restriction and confinement than in traditional cubicle-style office layouts. 

This is certainly a trend for creative companies as it supports the collaboration necessary for creative processes. Types of businesses that can benefit from an open office layout include PR and marketing firms, advertising, architectural companies, nonprofits, and think tank organizations.

What are open office layout cons?

More Distractions

The most common argument against the open plan office layout is that it increases the potential for interruptions that can interfere with daily work. It can be difficult for team members to focus when a group of 30 other coworkers is talking near them, especially when the conversations aren’t about work.

With an open layout design, employees will need to find more innovative ways to drown out co-workers and stay focused. They may also become more considerate of others naturally, which can help keep the noise levels in check.

Lack of Privacy

Another con of the open layout office design is the lack of privacy for team members. Since employees often share space at a large table with groups of coworkers, they generally won’t have a private office, a personal desk or even dividing partitions to shield them from the eyes of colleagues. This makes it difficult to have personal conversations or a brief moment of solitude.

Increased Stress

Given their lack of privacy and increased distractions, open office layouts can be more stressful on employees. Employees may feel as if supervisors are constantly looking over their shoulders and judging their work and that they constantly need to give the appearance of productivity, which can lead to higher stress levels. 

Open office layout design ideas 


Many companies are placing sustainability as number 1 on their list of considerations for open office layout design, especially if it aligns with their CSR policies. Using a combination of LED lighting and natural light along with passive ventilation, repurposing furniture and accessible outdoor spaces are all ways that businesses can lessen their environmental impact. 

Technology & Connectivity

As we continue to embrace a mix of “borderless” physical and virtual meeting spaces, companies are realizing that knowledge work doesn’t necessarily require physical proximity—an especially vital consideration for companies operating with a distributed or globalized workforce.

New office layouts need to incorporate private booths with power and data integration, flexible and permanent desk space, breakout and touchdown zones, and a range of AV meeting and training rooms to support several types of virtual collaboration, enabling staff to stay connected regardless of location.

Smart Offices

Smart buildings can collect and share data, enabling companies to better understand when and how different spaces are being used. Things like human-centric smart lighting systems can track how spaces are being used so that the office design can evolve and continually optimize in alignment with a company’s needs and evolution.

Touchless doors and thermal imaging can help optimize safety as employees return to work from the office. Digital sensors can be used to monitor air quality and natural light levels, whereas desk booking apps can assist with ensuring social distancing so that only one employee interacts with that desk and workspace that day. 

WeWork’s flexible location in Taiwan ensures companies can utilize a flexible and safe locations with superior amenities in response to the challenges of the pandemic.

To find out more about WeWork’s business solutions and innovative workspaces, contact us today, and one of our representatives will connect with you soon.

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