Open-Plan vs. Closed-Plan Office Design: Striking a Balance

While open-plan office design has been a recognised as a popular feature of office space planning for decades, it wasn’t until Silicon Valley giants like Google and Apple embraced them that they became the go-to choice. Nowadays, in the age of millennials, open-plan offices are considered to be the office plan design that is most conducive to a productive workforce. In addition to aesthetic advantages, open-plan offices encourage a sense of community and togetherness throughout the company; inter-company communications are improved; and open-plan layouts are usually cheaper too.

Yet some argue that to integrate closed-plan design aspects would, in fact, be more productive and that the lack of a retreat in a strictly open-plan office is actually restrictive in its very nature. Advantages of segregating office spaces include privacy and noise reduction, which are key factors in the level of staff morale.

However, with careful planning and experience, it is possible to strike a balance between both open- and closed-plan office design in order to maximise you staff’s productivity and happiness. Here, we illustrate three of our previous office design projects to demonstrate how best to achieve a healthy and well-balanced working environment.

Open-Plan with Privacy

For brand design agency, Brand Opus, we created an open-plan environment because we knew that collaboration between colleagues was an important part of the company’s culture. In this fast-paced industry, it’s important to have a constant flow of information and teamwork. However, we also knew that for such a creative company it would be important to have informal breakout spaces where brainstorms could take place in relative seclusion. The result is a modern and cooperative environment where one cane enjoy the best of both worlds.

Open-plan desk spaces are complemented by more intimate seating areas for collaborative work. Creative touches make the spaces a stimulating place to think, whether as a group or individually.

open plan vs closed plan office design interactive space
Brand Opus

The Power of Pods

Dentsu is one of the largest independent advertising marketing communications groups in the world. When they tasked us with bringing together three companies under one roof, we knew that the easy-going nature of an open-plan office would help people to bond and forge relationships. Yet we also wanted to give people some privacy, which is where a series of purpose built pods came in. The pods are an oasis of solitude in one of the city’s busiest offices, where people can discuss ideas or entertain clients without the distraction of others.

open plan vs closed plan office design interactive space

Personal Space

It is also possible to have an open-plan office design but still give your team a sense of personal space. When Emirates Airlines asked us to relocate their call centre into a new building, we knew that because of the nature of the business that the staff would be working in close quarters. This is why we came up with the solution of having desk dividers. These dividers allow staff the privacy to both take their phone calls and take care of any paperwork that needs doing. However, they still sit closely in their teams which allows for complete collaboration.

open plan vs closed plan office design interactive space
Emirates Airline

For more information about open-plan or private office layouts, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced and friendly team.

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