A workplace is more than just a collection of walls, chairs, desks, and employees. It’s an environment where several individuals must cooperate and focus on a number of tasks each day. The way your workplace is organized in large part determines how your staff members feel, how hard they work, and how they get along with one another. In other words, your office should be designed to improve and optimize your company’s unique workplace culture.
We’re all familiar with the proverbial office with sequestered cubicles and low ceilings. And while many work environments have inherited and maintained this design, plenty of modern offices have done away with the barriers and opened right up. Are these open floorplans better than cubes, though? Let’s run down the pros and cons of both set-ups and see if we can determine a winner.
Our modern sensibilities might shudder at the thought of cubicles. But that drab image in our heads is usually not representative of the real thing. Cubicles can range in size, shape, and design.
- Personal(ized) Space: Employees who work in an office spend a lot of their time there. Many of them enjoy having some space where they can put up photographs, artwork, and knick-knacks to make it their own. On top of that, most people benefit from some personal space where they can get away from others every now and then.
- Limits Distractions: Cubicles are often a great way to reduce performance management issues caused by visual or auditory distractions. Their walls keep such unwanted stimuli out of sight and mind. This is especially important for jobs and roles that require serious focus or privacy.
- Detrimental to Teamwork: Cubicles might not be the best option for a team-driven business. These partitions keep everyone in their own little bubble for much of the day. Leaders may struggle with team management as a result.
- Less Accountability: These enclosures may also tempt some employees to shirk some of their responsibilities. In this regard, cubicles might not make for the most effective performance management, even if they also encourage focus at times. It’s a double-edged sword.
This type of office configuration is becoming more and more popular. On paper, open floorplans sound great. However, they’re not without their flaws as well.
- Encourages Communication: The fewer barriers your office has, the more open it is to collaboration and communication. Staff members will get to know the faces and names of everyone else in the office. These open floorplans make it difficult to hide from your team.
- Increases Accountability: An open floorplan makes it so every employee has an idea of what their team members are up to. In this way, your team will stay productive and accountable for their work.
- Less Privacy: All of that open space comes at the cost of privacy, of course. Without the comfort of a cubicle, employees have a harder time making their workplace their own. They also lack options when they want to take a break from socializing.
- Increases Distractions: The more you can see and hear, the harder it may be to focus on the task at hand. Some employees can manage their attention better than others, but an open floorplan opens the door for all kinds of distractions. So, this configuration might not always be suited for proper employee productivity management.
Open Floor vs. Cubes? Which is the Better Option?
In a way, the pros and cons are flipped for each set-up. That means the “winner” depends on your specific needs, roles, and company culture. If your company relies heavily on teamwork, collaboration, and free expression, open floorplans are often ideal. If your business, on the other hand, requires more individual focus and privacy, cubicles might be the way to go. Some offices might even incorporate elements of both configurations. Do what’s best for your purposes.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.