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Open-plan or Closed-plan Office Layout? The Pros & Cons

open-plan office


Like interior design more generally, the popular opinion regarding this question has changed over the years as trends have moved in and out. But where does that leave us in 2018? Although the answer to this question will still very much depend on the nature of your business, there are still some universal pros and cons of each layout which can help guide your decision. To find out what these are, read on.

What is an open-plan office?

An open-plan office is simply a working environment in which there are no enclosed rooms or cubicles which separate one desk from another. In such offices, employees will work in the same room, often next to each other along a large, collaborative workstation.


Advantages of open-plan offices


  • Collaboration: open offices, more than anything, offer employees the ability to collaborate with ease, as well as offering quick and clear communication channels all across your company. If you wish to promote an energetic and creative environment within your business, then this is a sure-fire way to do it.
  • Cost-efficient: while open offices can still look sleek and attractive, if you opt for one of these, you will certainly be saving yourself money. Firstly, you can accommodate for more people in a particular area and, further, you will save money on things such as partitions.


Disadvantages of open-plan offices


  • Distractions: unfortunately, with communication comes distraction. While with some tasks collaboration is essential, others require peace and quiet, something which isn’t always easily attainable in an open-plan office. As such, open offices do tend to sacrifice productivity for communication.
  • Illness: while this may not seem like the most obvious problem, it can really hurt you during the winter months. Unlike closed offices, if you’re sick, you’re never too far away from anyone else in the company. What’s more, if it’s infectious, the virus will spread around your department quickly and, indeed, the rest of the company.


What is a closed-plan office?

Closed-plan offices are defined by individual working areas. Whether employees are compartmentalised by cubicles, rooms or partitions, closed offices, this office concept aims to promote productivity through privacy.

Advantages of closed-plan offices


  • Privacy: closed-plan offices give your employees space, something which is important at work, perhaps chiefly because it them time to make important decisions. It can also offer security, too.
  • Productivity: when distractions are minimised through closed office layouts, productivity will tend to increase. In professions such as law and accountancy, peace and quiet is essential, making closed-plan offices the go-to layout.


Disadvantages of closed- plan offices


  • Isolation: while privacy is good, too much can lead to isolation. As social animals, we don’t like to be alone for too long, so spending 8 hours a day at a walled off desk may not do our mood a world of good. In turn, this could well have a negative impact on productivity.
  • Costly: creating an office which looks great and carefully compartmentalises its employees is certainly not a cheap operation, and will require more furniture and partitioning than its open-plan equivalent.



CPS Interiors is a professional interior design and refurbishment company who serve commercial customers across Nottingham, Leicester and Derby. Our design experts will work closely with your company to establish the best interior design choices for your needs. From complete office fit outs to small scale updates, we can help you optimise any space. For further information or advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team today.


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