To open-plan or not to open plan?

May 30, 2019    Richard Merrick     

Open plan office spaces have become the norm. The trend first started in New York around 1906 when an architect created an open-plan factory, with few walls. The trend has continued not just in our workspaces but also been brought into our homes. However, making an open plan office commitment can be a costly investment.

To help you decide if open plan is right for your business, interior design experts at Claremont have put together a list of benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits of open plan office spaces:

  • Better communication

Traditional offices often hinder communication as employees come to work, often keep to themselves within their offices and go home. Open plan offices can encourage communication leading to relationship building and teamwork.

  • Everyone is approachable

Open plan can break down hierarchical boundaries and lead to better knowledge sharing. Employees can also feel increased moral as the ‘open door’ policy is a reality.

  • Cross team collaboration

With different teams working next to each other, ideas can be shared quickly. This can make problem solving rapidly. Meetings can happen as soon as a problem arises.


Drawbacks of open plan office spaces:

  • Distractions

With everyone communicating and collaborating, it can be easy to fall into smalltalk which some experts say impact productivity.

  • Privacy can be difficult

Conversations can be overheard and computer screens can be easily seen. This can be problematic for the accountants and HR teams who may be handling sensitive data about employees.

  • Overcrowding

With a large group of people in one room, it can be easy for the place to get crowded. This is common with poorly designed office environments where the ‘one-size fits all’ approach has been applied.


There are plenty of benefits and drawbacks to having an open plan office space. It is important to consider what is right for you and your business. To help you make that decision Claremont have an expert team of interior design consultants. They can help prevent some of the negatives highlighted in this article and take full advantage of the benefits. For more information contact us.


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