Open vs Private Office Space: Which is Best for My Business?
The last decade has given rise to the Googleization of offices. A focus on collaboration and freeform thought has lead to companies shifting to the open office format. But are open offices better than private? It depends on your business & needs.
In this article, we weigh the pros and cons of each.
Open Office Space
The coworking explosion saw a dramatic shift towards open office spaces in all sorts of businesses. Cubicle walls melted away, opening up to create collaborative workspaces.
It’s a phenomenon that gained popularity at new age giants like Google and Facebook. Companies were quick to adopt, in hopes of capturing some of the same success.
Now we’re a few years into mainstream open office spaces and we’re taking an objective look at their pros and cons:
Open Office Pros
Collaboration is the most touted benefit of the open office. Putting people of different levels and functions into one space opens up the dialogue and offers more perspectives. The result is more harmonious, agile thoughts and ideas. As well, it reduces miscommunication and streamlines ideation.
The immediacy and accessibility that an office space provides to team members make it ideal for collaboration.
For companies in a state of anticipated or unsure growth, open office space rentals are ideal. These spaces are dynamic and adaptable. It’s easy to rearrange space and/or add desks. This allows for rapid growth if you need to scale up the workforce quickly.
Growing businesses save time and money on having to look for new offices.
Open offices are the most economical way to set up your office. It’s what has made them a staple of the Toronto coworking landscape. Cubicles, private, and individual offices take up more space and cost more to set up. On average, an open office space takes up less than 1/3rd of the space of a traditional office.
Businesses of all sizes are focusing on becoming leaner and more productive. An open office provides the perfect balance between quality and price point that fits many modern companies.
Open Office Cons
Interruptions & Distractions
The ease of collaboration can cut both ways. While it’s easy for people to communicate and discuss ideas, it’s just as easy to distract each other. According to studies by the University of California, Irvine, distractions happen 29% more often in open offices.
Approaches can be taken to mitigate distractions. Setting time for socialization can help reduce distractions throughout the day. Allowing for flex work, so employees can work from home when they need distraction-free work days, can help. As well, wearing headphones can help keep employees plugged into their own work, so they are interrupted less often while still being readily available.
Lack of Privacy
Constant collaboration isn’t for everyone. Some people, especially those from a more old school background or mentality, prefer private office space. For them, the four walls of an office aren’t restrictive, they’re a comfort. Privacy can offer freedom from distraction and makes your workspace feel like your own.
Lack of Permanency
While the agility of renting open office space is generally a benefit, there is a flipside. The whole, “move fast and break things,” mentality comes with a lack of permanency. While it’s proven to be a formula for success and rapid growth for many businesses, it’s not for everyone.
Agility allows you to push boundaries and scale fast, but more permanent workspace can provide a sense of comfort. It’s important to find the balance that meets your company’s needs and culture.
Allowing workers to personalize their desk space with plants, photos, and knickknacks can help them feel like their space is their own. As well, minimize unnecessary shuffling around of space.
Private Office Space
Private offices are the more traditional approach. Employees show up in their private offices and it’s their home for the day. The four walls of their cubicle or office are familiar and comfortable. In the wake of the open office boom, many companies are partially shifting back to private offices. They’re often used now for management roles or specialized jobs.
Private Office Pros
One of the most obvious benefits of a private office is privacy. Workers can complete professional or personal matters in their own space. It also makes it easier to deal with sensitive matters such as legal, HR, or financials without alerting or involving the whole team.
Often, salespeople who are on frequent calls will prefer a private office. The calls are less of a distraction to those around them, and they can have the comfort of a private call.
Another benefit of a private office is the lack of interruptions. People are less likely to disrupt or interrupt you while in a private space. This makes it easier to focus on your own work and reduces distractions.
In addition to interruptions, the noise of an open office can be disrupting. 58% of high-performance employees desire a quieter workspace. A private office offers more control over sound.
The lack of interruptions helps individuals to be more productive throughout their day. Employees can accomplish their individual tasks faster and with high-quality. Their interactions are more streamlined, usually occurring on their own terms.
Private Office Cons
Although a private office improves individual productivity, it can reduce team productivity. Where there are fewer interruptions, there are also fewer opportunities for communication and collaboration.
The result is less innovation at the expense of individual productivity. Companies need to decide which is more important to them in deciding between open and private offices.
Having the privacy of your own office can be nice and comfortable. But it’s also isolating. Spending days locked away alone in your own office can take a personal toll. It reduces your participation in company culture and can take away from workplace wellness and job satisfaction.
If working with private offices, be sure to schedule social time and try to pair break times with other employees. Solutions like Steve Jobs’ walking meetings can help to engage coworkers and break up the mundanity of spending all day cooped up in an office.
For all the comforts that come along with a private office, there is a definite cost. They take up more space, they cost more to put together, and moving in and out of spaces is more time-consuming and expensive than an open office.
They can have other cost benefits, however. For example, employers can use a private office as an incentive during promotions rather than just giving raises.
Private Office in a Coworking Space
A private office in a coworking space is another option that provides a healthy balance between the pros and cons of open and private offices. These are available for individual offices or team offices. They offer the best of both worlds, combining the privacy of your own office with the collaboration of an open office.
These offer the best value for individuals or small teams who are looking to rent private offices. They come at a lower cost than renting traditional business space while having all the amenities of a large company.
Private Office & Open Office Office Space for Rent in Toronto
Whether your company’s needs are best met by renting private or open office space, quality matters. Our Toronto coworking spaces are top quality. We have prime Financial District real estate, professional design, and all the technology and amenities a modern office needs.
Our diverse range of open and private office space can fit the needs of any size or type of business.
Book a tour today and discover the benefits of coworking space.