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Furniture Blog

Open Workspaces vs. Traditional Offices

For many years, companies craved the expansiveness of an open workspace. They longed for the airiness it offered and dreamed of long, wide rooms filled with neatly arranged desks unhindered by the structure of walls and dividers.

Today that’s changing. The open floor plan office is still an excellent solution for businesses who rely heavily on collaboration and whose employees spend most of their days working directly with others. But open workspaces aren’t for everyone.

Some companies, need the division a traditional workspace offers. Some employees, from interns to CEOs, are finding it impossible to focus in the kind of workspace where sound has no barriers and private offices are scarce.

Why the Switch from Open to Closed?

The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Jordan Hamad, who founded a tech-advisory firm call Chairseven nearly four years ago. When Hamad started his business, he designed it the same way every startup did at the time: open, with glassy, polished floors and communal tables.

But it didn't take Hamad long to realize his mistake. His business requires a certain amount of collaboration, but it also requires a certain amount of peace and quiet; something his open office wasn’t able to provide. The hard floors caused sound to echo and the lack of space required him and his employees to seek shelter at home or in printer rooms during conference calls and meetings.

The space itself was beautiful, but it wasn’t practical for Hamad and his employees. And so, they made the switch. The moved to a new space, complete with private offices and many quiet areas in which to get work done.

What the Science Says

The trend towards open offices has been sweeping the nation. According to the International Facility Management Association, 70 percent of U.S. offices today are open-concept, a 6 percent increase over 20 years ago.

But just because they’re popular, doesn’t mean they’re the right choice. So why do businesses design open workspaces when they aren’t a good fit for their employees? Unfortunately, some companies tend to think more about how their spaces look and how they will be perceived, than their practical uses; and that’s not a good thing.

After studying over 100 offices, British researchers have found that, while open workspaces do foster better communication, they can also inhibit motivation and make it harder to focus. Providing employees with their own space, changes this. “When you’re in a territory that’s clearly yours, you perform better,” Sally Augustin, an environmental psychologist with Design With Science, stated to The Wall Street Journal.

Choose What’s Right for Your Company

The truth is, there is no such thing as a one size fits all office space. How you design your office and the choices you make depend on who you hire, what you do, and the environment in which you do it best.

Whether your office needs communal tables to fill an open floor plan or individual desks for private offices, you can find new and used office furniture right here in Dallas, TX, at Office Furniture Source. Not sure what you need? Our furniture consultants are on hand to help. Get in touch with one today or give us a call at 855-318-4311.

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