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08.03.2016 Back to Blog articles

Office Layout: Cubicles vs Open Plan?

Office Space. What's Better: Cubicles or Open Plan? Hmm...

Your office layout is extremely important. Choose correctly, and it can boost creativity and productiveness. But choose incorrectly, and it could be detrimental to the office morale. We are comparing open plan vs. cubicles, so you can decide which works best for your business.

Open Plan

Often seen as the ‘modern layout’, open plan is more favoured but isn’t necessarily right for every business. You need to consider how you work and recognise who makes up your team. If you have more introverts, an open plan layout might be their worst nightmare. But if your business is a creative one, an open plan office could work wonders! It can encourage communication and is a great way for your employees to bounce ideas off each other and come up with fresh concepts. It not only promotes collaboration, it can also improve camaraderie within your team.

However, it means a severe lack of privacy, which in turn could decrease productivity. If your business is one that requires a lot of private conversations or meetings, then consider how this would work in an exposed environment. Your staff may feel they can’t talk to clients as openly as they would like, so, at the very least, ensure you have private meeting rooms for such occasions. It’s also important to evaluate your company policies on features such as headphones. These can be used as great cues to let staff know when others want to be left alone.

In this technological era, it’s too easy to only talk via phone or e-mail, but an open plan office promotes face-to-face interaction and encourages teamwork. However, teamwork also means that agreement is imperative. Things like air conditioning and having the blinds up or down may seem small but can be the gateway to inter-office tension.


Businesses often choose an open plan layout because it looks better in photographs and can give a more pleasing first impression to clients. Though cubicles look cramped and are a more expensive option, it’s your employees who have to work in this setting day in, day out, and they might need their own space.

Open plan also presents the distraction of noise, and not just the case of too much of it. Yes, it can promote unnecessary chatter, but it can also highlight deadly silence, which can be just as detrimental to productivity. Again, consider how your staff work and how this might translate into an open office environment.

You also have to think about the managerial structure in your office. Having an open plan could eliminate promotional advantages, such as getting your own office, which some staff may be unhappy about. It also lays all duties out in the open. This could be great for staff morale as workers might appreciate each other’s workloads more, or it could do the complete opposite and highlight the differences between roles.

Best of Both

There is the option for a hybrid-type layout. Private, workspace cubicles for day-to-day activities teamed with open-plan creative spaces for discussions could be a great solution for your business. Alternatively, you could have an open plan office with access to private meeting rooms, or the option to wheel in cubicle desks, if needed. If you still can’t decide, start by asking your employees how they prefer to work and then judge whether your office layout can serve both your staff and your clients.

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