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Open Plan Vs Closed Plan Offices: Which is Better? 

More and more businesses today seem to be switching to open plan offices with bright and trendy technology-filled work areas full of lush greenery, funky artwork, and shared office workstations.

However, that doesn’t mean closed office environments are completely null and void now. Some employees crave privacy and quiet so they can concentrate on their work.

Distracting noise really is the biggest pitfall of open plan offices and a key driver to businesses choosing closed offices instead.

Research by Oxford Economics found that 53% of 1200 office workers, said noise in their current open-plan offices not only reduces their productivity but also reduces their job satisfaction too.

Furthermore, 59% said they felt their workplace didn’t have any preventative noise measures put in place to help the issue.

So which is better for your business? Open plan or closed offices? We have a few handy tips to help you decide.

Getting Started with Office Floor Plans

Choosing the best office layout for your business can be difficult, and every situation is different. There is no ‘One-size fits all’ solution. Everyone seems to want to keep up with current design trends, and for a good reason. They make for better workspaces.

Before you get started, ask and answer the following questions:

How does this space need to function?
What kind of functional areas does the space need?
How do I want myself/employees to feel in this space?
What should the space say about the company and its employees?
What qualities do we need to improve? (communication, productivity?)

These are just a few questions to ask. You could even expand upon these in a brainstorming session with your employees. Want to give them the best office environment that they’ll actually enjoy coming to every day? Ask them what they want!

Chances are you can already guess what the advantages and disadvantages of open plan and closed plan offices are.



Increase opportunities to communicate, collaborate and generate innovative ideas.

Result in a more economical use of space and keeps costs low.

Promote a sense of belonging and boosts employee’s morale.


Louder and more distracting, making it difficult to concentrate.

Lack of privacy and makes employees feel exposed.

Can be more prone to spreading germs and sickness.

Top Tip: Two ways to reduce noise in open-plan offices is to incorporate soft furnishing items like lounges to help deaden the sound or to section off areas with free standing screening.


Offer more privacy to take phone calls and private meetings.

Minimise distractions, allowing you to concentrate.

Offer more workspace and larger work area.


Don’t allow for easy communication.

Can make employees feel isolated and ‘out of the loop’.

Are more expensive in terms of real-estate, electricity, heating and furniture fit-out costs.

Top Tip: To prevent employees from feeling closed off or claustrophobic, consider installing sectional windows instead of full walls.

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Despite the pitfalls, today’s workplace design is gearing more towards the open plan space rather than closed offices to appeal to future generations. However, this does not invalidate the benefits of closed office spaces. Employee preferences and expectations of the work environment are complex and figuring out how to cater to everyone’s ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ can be time-consuming.

If you find yourself leaning more towards one than the other, then that’s a good indication that you have a grasp on how your company culture aligns with your desired space.

Still undecided?

Might I throw a spanner in the works and completely blow your mind?

There’s a design trend that has really taken off in the last 10 years. You may have already heard of it. It’s called Activity Based Working.


Activity Based Workplaces

Collaboration Spaces

collaborate-iconCollaboration Spaces encourage teamwork to unlock innovative thinking. Employees thrive in modern office environments when they have the flexibility to work in teams. Meeting rooms with whiteboards and glass boards support creative brainstorming, while shared workstations ensure a dynamic team can always collaborate.

Focused Spaces

focus-iconFocused Spaces minimise distractions and promote concentration. Closed offices and individual workstations provide a dedicated place for work. While private booths with acoustic walls block out noise, allowing employees concentrate on the task at hand.

Communication Spaces

communicate-iconCommunication Spaces support connectivity and shared ideas between co-workers. Effective communication is vital to connecting people with the shared vision of the company. Whether it’s in relaxed meeting spaces, executive boardrooms or discussing ideas in open workspaces, effective communication is the key to productivity.

Revitalising Spaces

revitalise-iconRevitalising Spaces allow employees to unwind and recharge their batteries. Everyone needs a little down time throughout the work day. Lounge areas, break rooms and bright outdoor settings provide a casual space to relax and return energised.

Key Takeaways

While open plan offices are becoming more popular because of cost savings associated, increased communication, collaboration and boosted employee morale, closed offices do have their benefits too.

They allow for better focus, fewer distractions and more workspace. There is a common ground that caters to the idealist who wants both. Activity-based working is the future of the modern workforce and it’s what the employees of the future want.

You’re not in this alone. Thousands of businesses have benefited from expert advice and you can too. Contact a BFX Office Furniture Expert, and we’ll help you design an office that grows as your business grows.

Talk to an Activity Based Workplace Expert Today!

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