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About a year ago, on LinkedIn we shared our whitepaper “Balancing Collaboration & Privacy in the Modern Office.” Sharing insight about open concept vs. cubicles in office design—and balancing workplace interiors with the best of both worlds—sparked debate in the comments like we’ve never seen with 250 reactions and 60+ shares as of this update. In fact, people are still engaging with the post every day. Because of the hotness of the topic (and post), we have compiled some of the most common sentiments and thought-provoking comments shared.
Despite the recent trend in commercial design, a lot of folks aren’t fans of the open-office concept. Many noted that they find the lack of privacy problematic for work productivity and focus. One commenter even went so far as to call the open office “nothing but chaos” after stating, “You can't hear, you can't think, you can't concentrate.”
Some found a middle ground with cubicles and expressed they prefer the makeshift semi-private workspace to a completely open area. Even half walls were mentioned and thought a better option than no walls at all.
Some brought up the needs of neurodiverse workers, one noting both open floorplans and cubicles are “pretty terrible for people managing ADD/ADHD.” Not having a private office was also a reason cited for increased anxiety and decreased productivity.
While the design world has been developing solutions for open floorplans over the last five or so years, a lot of people still like the idea of a private office. This isn’t limited to C-Suite executives with prime real estate and huge windows; responders from various levels of the “corporate ladder” preferred a door and four walls for maximum privacy and heads-down time.
The farthest end of the spectrum were workers lauding work from home. We are seeing widespread encouragement to return to the office but there are plenty of people who do prefer the option of working from their homes, coffee shops, co-working spaces, etc.
All things considered, we are seeing people chime in with the benefits of open office when it suits the work at hand. “Does it benefit collaboration and creativity? Sure, when needed,” one commenter said.
Overall, the concern of those engaging with this post on LinkedIn is an open office or a cubicle being the only options for work environments. Workplace design today must consider different working styles, worker preferences, the types of work carried out in the space, etc., and various areas within the site must be designed to meet this wide range of needs.
The best case scenario? An open working area for collaboration, meeting rooms for focused group work/chats, private offices for greatest solo productivity, and cubicles for shorter heads-down time.
Good news: Ghent has solutions for optimal designs in all types of workspaces. Explore our offerings for the office at ghent.com/spaces/office/.
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