Considerations Before Designing Open Gathering Spaces in Your Office

IMG_0152Closed office spaces are slowly becoming a thing of the past as 9-5 work days are becoming antiquated. What you knew as an office even five years ago probably differs from the modern day office environment. More and more offices are designing workspaces to include open spaces to encourage teamwork and creative collaboration. Managers and CEOs are ditching overly large offices and moving into open spaces with their co-workers to make themselves more available and transparent. What are the reasons for doing this?

How is this beneficial to employees?

Whatever the reason for creating an open office environment, whether for company happy hours, strictly creative collaboration, or a different reason entirely, if they are not designed effectively, they may have the opposite effect than intended.

Open office spaces can be great, but they should be done in moderation. If you have nothing but a building of open space, it can do more harm than good. People like to have a place to call their own, but they may also like knowing they can collaborate in an open space. People like options, even at work. When it’s time to buckle down and get work done, it is beneficial to be able to work in a closed space for easier concentration and less stress.

Privacy may also be a big concern for an all-open floor plan. You don’t get the same privacy out in the open as you would in an individual office, and some people work better knowing their privacy isn’t compromised. Employers create these spaces to encourage collaboration, but this may actually hinder it. While open spaces are intended to increase communication, co-workers may actually communicate less in fear of having the whole office overhear what they are saying. Needless to say, lack of privacy is a distraction.

However, when designing a new office space, creating at least a small open gathering place can be a good thing. It gives your employees an opportunity to come together and share ideas, but then break apart when they really need their privacy for a big project or deadline. Having an open space for work can increase the sense of community in the office, and allow them to learn about their coworkers and grow with them as a company. This all depends on the type of industry you operate in. Some industries may be better suited for the completely open-space office, such as a news room, while an industry such as a marketing firm may be more effective with a couple different breakout rooms where groups of people can work on their projects together as needed.

Having an open gathering space in your office has many pros and cons, and ultimately, only first-hand experience can prove whether it works in your industry or not. Take into consideration these pros and cons when designing your office space to become more “modern.” Your office says so much about your company, and having the wrong office design can affect your business in huge ways. But the right design, can do wonders for your team and your company.

At Innovative Office Solutions, our expert design staff is trained, certified and and experienced at making sure your next office is the ideal workspace for your employees and your brand. Get a free quote today or contact us at 1-800-253-3005 or by email to


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