Open plan offices – pros and cons

Published by: Kostantinos Eleftheriadis

Published on: 30 Sep, 2018

As jobs are changing continuously because of the internet and new technologies, offices are changing too. It used to be that people went to work and had their own private space or cubicle, but nowadays, most companies opt for open plan offices. One of the obvious perks from the companies’ perspective it’s a better optimisation of their space, while saving on costs. But open-plan offices are also widely believed to encourage employees to interact more with each other, and generally boosting the collaboration between colleagues.

There are indeed lots of advantages, especially as a newcomer, as you can get to know the people in your workplace more easily, as well as support each other and ask for help when needed. If you are someone who likes chatting during the breaks and you don’t mind having different people working alongside you most days, then you will enjoy this way of working.

There are however downsides: it can by noisy, (some people type very loudly – I am one of them!) and the lack of privacy and personal space all contribute to make people less productive. There are also companies that operate a clean desk policy, with employers sitting in one hot desk one day and another the next. This means you can’t have anything on your desk that makes it homely and the desks in this system are first come, first served so you can’t expect to sit in the same desk all week. Your conversations are, of course, always public and focusing on your own work and avoid distractions can be hard.

Here’s a few tips to make it work and learn how to adapt to an open-plan office:

  • learn how to focus and ignore the noise around you (headphones will help!)
  • make good use of the meeting rooms and other private spaces when you need focus groups or tackling specific jobs
  • if you have a flexible contract and the possibility to work from home, take advantage of it
  • enjoy your time with your co-workers and the opportunities of collaboration

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