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Deciding which layout that is best for your office environment can be a very tough decision. There have been various studies on open office plans that explains the positive and negative aspects of it. Here we look to decide which is best at producing the most productivity from staff.

The open office plan started in Germany in 1965, with the view that having every employee no matter of rank or job title, working within the same environment would improve morale, productivity and relationships between employer and employee.


This was the general view and since its inception the studies have been mixed on how effective this office plan actually is. A 1998 study in the British Journal of Psychology found that background noise from other staff members had a profound effect on employee’s being able to do mental arithmetic and memorise case studies.

It’s fair to assume that too much noise can have a substantial effect on the concentration of employees and in turn their productivity levels but we also need to ask ourselves if the open office is comfortable for staff.

In an article from the BBC, Professor Alexi Marmot, an architect at UCL University College London mentions that from the open office perspective, although too much noise is distracting, no noise at all brings added problems such as deathly quiet atmospheres. Some employees want to have confidential or personal conversations and they may not feel comfortable doing this with no added background noise.

Another complaints of the open office environment is the lack of daylight, on-going discussions with other employees of the air condition (on or off), and the blinds (up or down) and of course whether your mobile phone can be on loud or not.

A 2009 article in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Health Management found that the open office environment brings added problems to employee’s health with high blood pressure and stress being accounted for sick days and lack of productivity also.

Young employees may favour the open office plan as they can learn from more experienced staff members while also showing their own skill level but overall, the cons way out the pros with having this type of layout and from this we can see that closed office space encourages more productivity from staff.

A study in Sweden in 2009 found that staff members were most happy within private office space while most unrest and unhappiness was due to being stationed in medium or large office environments. Staff are more productive and better with a window they can look out, a door they can open and a wall they can beat on.

If you’re thinking of redeveloping your office space then contact Gazelle today. Either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 0117 955 3668.


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