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Open vs Closed: How does a floor plan affect productivity?


Your office floor plan isn’t simply a matter of aesthetics; it has a significant impact on your workforce’s ability to work happily and productively. Unless you work in one of the cool office spaces mentioned in our previous blog, it’s likely your office design falls into one of two categories: open plan or closed plan. Let’s take a look at the virtues of both and how stationery suppliers can help you optimise your workspace. 

The open plan office space was designed to create utopic working conditions.

Emerging in the 1990s, open floor plans were designed to reduce hierarchy among staff members and encourage team work and collaboration. Twenty years on and the open floor plan is a ubiquitous design feature of all types of offices across all kinds of industries. Open floor plans also help the flow of information – employees across the whole company are kept “in the loop” – and are considerably cheaper than closed floor plans. No wonder they’ve taken off.

Open plan offices are a false economy and have a negative effect on health.

Open plan offices might be the norm, but are they really all that beneficial? Apparently not, according to research from the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Not only do private offices outperform open plan offices but the benefits of easier communication are outweighed by the negative impact of lack of privacy and noise distraction. What’s more, open plan offices have been found to be bad for physical health, contributing to high blood pressure, stress, conflict and high staff turnover. That’s according to a study carried out at the Queensland University of Technology.

Like most things in life, the secret is in creating a balance.

It seems that you’re caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to designing an office floor plan. You want staff to share ideas and information, but you also want to create an office space that is conducive to both productivity and good health – both mental and physical. The trick is finding a balance: create a space where staff can talk and collaborate and a space for privacy and quiet. Make sure you allow staff freedom to move in and out of these areas as their requirements throughout the working day change.

The offices of the future might make the open vs closed floor plan debate obsolete.

The open vs closed floor plan debate might very well become obsolete in the future. An infographic on the Entrepeneur predicts that employees will be in complete control over how, where and when they work. Most people will be self-employed entrepreneurs, and those who do work for corporations will very likely work remotely in a location of their choosing.

Both quiet and collaborative styles of work require office supplies.

Until communal offices become a thing of the past, creating an optimal working environment for staff will still be a key priority for businesses. Keeping your workspace stocked with enough office supplies is another step in creating the optimal working environment. The stationery supplier you choose needs to understand your business and be able to keep up with your office supplies demands. 

OfficeBox is shaking up the stationery supplier landscape by reshaping the way stationery suppliers operate and do business. Contact us today to find out how we can help you create the ideal work environment.  

David Adams
25 August 2017