Which office layout is the best?

There is heated debate as to what type of office layout is the most popular and productive. Open plan office, cubicles, hotdesking or working from home. Everyone has a preference, but which is the most productive and does it really matter?

A recent study by Kristine Spure on Trello compared the three most common office layouts today and discovered that there is just a 5 per cent difference in productivity between them.

So is it worth the cost of redesigning the layout of your whole office (and bringing in to play all of the disruption such a huge undertaking will cause) just in an effort to make your staff work a little bit more productively?

The study used time tracking and productivity software to assess the productivity of staff working in a variety of office spaces: open plan, closed space, and cubicles. The results were perhaps unsurprising.

With 75% of offices adopting an open plan style because of the perceived social, communication and collaborative benefits they bring. You might be forgiven for thinking that this was the most productive. The study showed than in fact, the open plan office was the least productive, scoring just 85.8 per cent in terms of productivity.

The less social closed-space office environment fared slightly better, coming in 3.5 per cent higher at 89.3 per cent productivity levels.

But standing proud at the top of the productivity podium, however, was the much-maligned and often despised office cubicles design.

That particular office layout clocked up productivity levels of 91.1 per cent, beating its closest rival by almost two per cent and boasting an outright margin of 5.3 per cent over the hugely popular open office design.

The author of the study, and clearly an opponent to the cubicle system, Ms Spure said:

“While it’s partially enclosed, providing some degree of privacy, you still won’t be able to shut the door in the face of an annoying colleague. And the company will still end up needing more square footage than if using desks alone. Furthermore, a 2013 study found that cubicle workers had the highest rates of unhappiness with their work setup.”

So, is it really worth choosing the most efficient office layout in terms of productivity just to get a 5 per cent boost?

Well, if the payoff is that all of your employees are going to be miserable at work, then, in all honesty, it’s probably not.

A much better idea is to make the best with what you’ve already got and see how you can make your office more productive.

For help with your office space, give us a call on 0800 4488026