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Open Plan Office Layouts

Open plan office layout designers know there is a strong correlation between productivity, quality of work, and office layout. A well-designed office should inspire personnel with soul-soothing aesthetics. But also, imprint on your client’s mind, that their interests are in the hands of professionals. When thinking about office design, business needs must drive form and function.

London is home to many eye-catching, open-plan offices. These versatile spaces are not only sought after for their aesthetic but are also cost-effective. Creating an atmosphere conducive to collaboration and creativity, while projecting a strong progressive and youthful feel.

But, before even considering the look and feel, the most important question an office designer must ask is whether the space they create will contribute toward accomplishing the company’s goals.

What is an open office?

The core feature of an open plan office is the lack of walls, dividers and any other kind of barrier between occupants. As the name suggests, it’s one big open space. Another key feature is that workspaces are adjacent to each other, and several employees will often share a large desk or work surface. Usually without privacy screens or dividers, although some open-plan designs do incorporate those elements.

Open offices are ideal for creating collaborative environments. They are also well suited for turning up the volume on creative aesthetics. Large working surfaces in natural materials like wood or stone. The use of plants, waist high shelving or plinths to demarcate areas without obstructing views across the room.

Most open plan environments make liberal use of bespoke and eclectic elements to design a unique spatial experience for workers and visitors, making the office interesting and memorable.

Different types of office layout

The Closed Office Layout

Closed office layouts are the best to create a distraction-free environment. This is the optimal type of arrangement for medical suites. Or, other environments where privacy is of utmost concern. Aesthetic elements are typically incorporated into the interior of each space. Leaving the overall impression of sheer functionality and uninterrupted work.

Cellular Office Layouts

We always joke and say that cellular offices are what happens when cubicles grow up. But this pretty much sums it up. Most cellular layout offices afford each employee his own small private space that can be locked if needed.

Traditional Office Layout

Traditional office layouts tended to allocate space according to hierarchy and the type of work. Certain activities, it was felt, could only be pursued in something akin to solitary confinement. While clerical duties were seen as mundane and these positions worked at cubicles within a larger area.

One of the big problems faced by these spaces was the little attention paid to airflow, natural light and other ergonomics like acoustics. Much of today’s office design incorporates science when considering the needs of office workers.

Cubicle Office Layout

Most of us are familiar with cubicle farms. We often look at these environments and pity the folks that work there. Cubicle office layouts can be done tastefully and functionally. When done right, they will afford each member of the team the privacy they need to focus on complicated tasks. While still breaking down barriers so employees won’t feel isolated or out of touch with each other.

Hybrid Layouts

Hybrid offices incorporate different design themes based on the needs or functions of the company’s various departments. Some spaces are private and secluded while others may be open spaces in combination with cubicle areas. As the name indicates, these combination offices are well suited to covering a all the needs of a company’s workforce. Especially where the workspace requirement of employees diverge.

Open Plan Office Layouts: Pros and Cons

Why we love open space offices

  • Open-plan offices are ideal for encouraging collaboration as team members have direct and unhindered access to each other. They are the antidote to team members feeling isolated and improve company culture.
  • This spatial style encourages greater creativity. Team members can freely discuss their work, and explain what they are working on while receiving creative input from each other.
  • The open-plan office promotes team cohesion better than spaces where members have minimal contact. Proximity creates familiarity, and trust, and gives managers deeper insight into the attributes of team members.
  • Because communication is instant, many problems that could take a day’s worth of back-and-forth emails, are solved after a five-minute, face to face conversation. This ups productivity and the speed at which solutions are deployed.
  • Open space offices create uniquely designed environments, encouraging people to express their unique attributes. Oh, and did we mention they are cost-effective?
  • One of the key benefits that are often overlooked is versatility. You are not bound by a configuration. Structure need not dictate organisation. You can divide teams up or set up areas for a specific project at the drop of a hat. Quick and easy.

What we find challenging about open space offices

  • Open space offices are an introverted person’s worst nightmare. They leave these small group seeking souls feeling drained, anxious and overwhelmed.
  • Noise levels can become distracting as conversations fly over your head or your neighbour takes a heated call from an unhappy client.
  • The lack of privacy can become problematic. This is not just personal privacy, but also when team members need to work on confidential projects.
  • Covid has highlighted the fact that open spaces leave people vulnerable to contagion from everyone in their proximity.
  • While open space offices can make everyone feel like one big family, they can also become distracting and disruptive to individuals trying to focus.

Floor plan for the perfect open plan office layout

It’s not immediately obvious, but open office floor plans can become quite complex. Most other layouts dictate where cubicles, closed offices and service areas should go. But an open-plan office is a blank canvas, and the only limits are imagination and inspiration.

That said, large windows or noisy neighbours will often push the space layout in a specific direction. What we love about open-plan offices however is the versatility. You can easily rearrange a few elements and create dedicated areas for teams working on specific projects or move a few team members into alcoves to afford them some privacy. Lastly, you can always move all the furniture against a single wall for that big office dance party.

Open plan office design ideas

Great design will interpret your company ethos into substance, making your core values tangible. It will translate what you stand for into a space that inspires and demands to be taken seriously. The best ideas are usually formulated after a few round table discussions. Where after the concepts and ideas need to simmer and evolve, creating a perfect synergy of function and aesthetic.

Good design will draw on past, present and future trends by weaving functionality and creativity into your dream office. Contact our design team today to learn how we can turn empty space into a hub of productivity and a symbol of pride for your business.

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