Disadvantages of the open space office and how to avoid them

06 / 11 / 2020


If the office is poorly designed and does not allow employees to get any privacy, it might become very stressful environment.

Open space office is a great way to connect employees, increase their productivity, and save on rent. This idea spread among American entrepreneurs as early as the 20th century. Especially in the second half, this interior arrangement became very popular, and since 1990s Czech entrepreneurs also began to adopt it. However, while the Czech Republic was discovering a new trend, studies questioning the benefits of the open space office were already published abroad.

If you are planning new offices and open space office attracts you, it is good to know that this type has its advantages and disadvantages. Not for everyone. Open office works for some job positions more and for other less. For example, accountants or lawyers. Employees who spend long hours reading and writing and need to concentrate. Briefly, for an open space to be functional and for people to feel good in it, it must be tailor-made.

Pros and cons of open space office

Open space brings many opportunities: greater availability of employees, better cooperation. It opens the door to mutual assistance. Someone who would not normally work on a project can be invited to solve the problem. It brings another unbiased view of the matter. The model also undoubtedly functions as a form of supervision. In addition, if a customer visits you, they can immediately find out how the company works and soak up its energy.

But there are also disadvantages. While mutual supervision is a pleasant bonus for employers, it can have the opposite effect on an employee's work ethic. An open space with many people eavesdropping on each other's conversation lacks the basic human need for privacy. Whether visual or audio. In practice, it turns out that employees are looking for other ways to have privacy. They intentionally wear large headphones to demonstrate to others not to disturb them. Or they pretend not to be heard. And so it definitely doesn't look like better cooperation and information sharing.

Give employees the opportunity to "hole up". PKV interiors, Brno


This situation is related to the fact that some people refuse to speak out so that others do not hear or judge them. Others, on the other hand, do not speak for fear of disturbing their colleagues. In short, being too close can be a problem, according to a Harvard study in 2018. Researchers focused on interactions between people in two companies moving from cubicles to open space. The study showed that face-to-face interactions decreased by 72%. At the same time, the use of electronic communication has risen sharply. People wrote more often and exchanged more words because they refused to speak out loud.

There is no all-purpose concept

If the office is poorly designed, it does not allow employees to have some privacy, it can be very stressful for them. Satisfaction with the workplace and work ethic decline if companies do not take into account the various opportunities and needs that may arise during the day.

Visual barriers are important for the human psyche. PKV interiors, Brno


It is essential that people know where they can "hole up" when they need to concentrate. Where they can have a meeting without interrupting. It is necessary to design different spaces for different types of work. It is also important not to underestimate the acoustics and invest in quality equipment that will help eliminate noise. There is nothing worse than having employees shout. What is more, it is important to offer them plenty of storage space and work space which they can rearrange as needed.

Part of the offices should be set aside for private calls. Everyone needs to make a phone call from time to time and should not feel that others are listening. This situation is perfectly solved by telephone booths, which can be built during construction or ordered as a finished product.

Phone booths address the lack of privacy. PKV interiors, Brno

A place for meetings. PKV interiors, Brno


Some scientists point out that visual barriers are of great importance to the human psyche. They help to give people a sense of their environment - it is easier to find out who belongs where, who is watching, to get oriented. What does it mean? Every space needs order.


The best offices are those that create conditions for everyone. Want to know more? Contact us and we will design offices for you.

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