Office Space Planning: Open vs Cubicles, Part Two

Last week we looked at why companies think open office spaces are better than cubicles and why they might be wrong. How does open office space affect workers who need peace and quiet for their thought process?

The close proximity can really hamper those who are constantly on the phone or deep in complex calculations or coding. If a worker has to leave an open-plan area to go and find a private, quite space to work on another floor, they often just stay and grit their teeth.

There’s simply way too much distraction and too much noise. It’s a blend of poor sight-lines that allow on teams’ rambunctious gesticulation to distract another team 200 feet away. The goal is really to provide acoustical buffered products that can be stationed in strategic areas to provide a quiet workspace for those who need it when they need it.

Creating “zones” or ” neighborhoods” can help – with one area for collaborative teamwork and another for more detailed desktop or phone applications. This could mean a blending of  the open floor plan which basically means sitting everyone at tables in the open, and the cubicle based option that was designed for minimum worker interference.

Hoteling units can particularly benefit from this kind of set up, as workers who need to collaborate can seat themselves together and those who are working solo can find a quiet corner to do their own work.

Don’t forget the need for proper power and internet connections.  Electricity is a higher priority since most computers, laptops, tablets and phones can connect wirelessly, but but you probably want at least a few direct ports.

Consider adjusting your viewpoint from “either-or” when it comes to considering cubicles or an open plan in your office design, and consider the end users instead of the aesthetics.

Finally, remember that the closed office is still the preferred workspace for many – so consider building a few into your floor plan. They can often be used as leverage in salary negotiations – the perk of a private office with a door that closes mist be the incentive needed for a much wanted recruit to jump ship and join your team!


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