open office space or individual office

The open office concept has been around for decades and has origins that date back to the mid-20th century in Germany. Google and other companies brought the concept of open office spaces to the mainstream in the United States in the 21st century. However, the layout is not without controversy, due in part to the fact that it was applied vigorously to office designs even when it wasn’t the best design for teams or businesses. 

Learn more about the pros and cons of both open offices and private office spaces below so you can choose the right layout for your company. 

Advantages of Open Office Spaces

There’s a lot to love about well-designed open office layouts. Some benefits they can afford teams include:

  • Support for collaboration. Removing the walls between team members or entire departments fosters more collaboration. Team members get to know each other better and may be more comfortable sharing ideas and asking for help.
  • Enhanced communication. Open office designs support increased face-to-face time, which can improve communication. It’s also easier for workers to ask questions and get answers, as they can voice a question to others without getting up from their station or making multiple phone calls. 
  • More flexible use of space. Many open office spaces let team members choose where to work each day, supporting movement between various stations, including desks, tables, and alternative working areas. This creates more flexibility in how workers do their jobs.
  • Transparency for company culture. Without so many walls and doors in the way, culture can develop in a more transparent way.

Potential Disadvantages of Open Office Spaces

Open office layouts don’t work for every company, though, and there are a few potential disadvantages. Obviously, privacy is drastically reduced in an open concept, which makes these designs impractical for some sectors such as finance or health care. Other possible issues with open space floor plans include:

  • Employee distractions. In some cases, productivity may be impacted because employees are distracted by others or by noise or activity within the open space. 
  • Increased use of sick days. Some studies have shown that employees that work in open office concepts take more sick days.
  • Decreased employee morale. Depending on how the space is set up and the nature of the business, open office layouts can lead to excessive noise and other issues that cause employees to be unhappy in the workplace.

The Pros of Individual Office Spaces

Individual offices offer privacy. They can also lead to fewer distractions for employees and may create barriers that keep the workforce healthier overall. 

Potential Cons of Individual Office Spaces

One of the biggest downsides of individual offices is that they silo people and teams. Collaboration must be planned in advance, with teams meeting in conference rooms or via web calls. Removing the organic collaboration inherent in open office spaces can reduce the creativity of teams.

Are Open Space Offices Better?

Whether or not open offices are better than private offices depends on your business needs, desired company culture, and the preferences and needs of your teams. Open office floor plans support collaboration and creativity while sacrificing privacy. Private space supports confidentiality and quiet while giving up some collaboration.

In many cases, the answer is in the middle. Creative use of cubicle walls and various types of office space in one location can ensure teams have what they need to make private calls, spend focus hours on their own, and collaborate and communicate organically in larger shared workspaces. 

At the same time, not all commercial fit out companies are equal. Some may specialise in a fit out type that doesn’t meet your needs. Others may use low-quality materials and workmanship. You need to know what questions to ask when talking with construction companies to find the right one.

The Most Important Questions to Ask Commercial Fit Out Companies

A fit out is a complex job, and it’s important to make sure it’s done right. The questions outlined below are some of the most important ones to ask when choosing a fit out company:

  • background and experience
  • capabilities
  • communications
  • costs
  • timing

Fit Out Background and Experience

  • How long has the commercial fit out company been in business?
  • Does the company have experience working with other businesses in your industry or local area?
  • What do previous customers have to say about the company’s completed projects?

Fit Out Capabilities

  • Can the commercial fit out company do the work on its own, or will the company (or you) need to hire subcontractors?
  • Can the company work with the construction materials you want to use for the job?
  • Do its technicians and other employees have the right form of insurance for the job?
  • Can you get the needed permits? If so, how long will it take?

Fit Out Communications

  • Does the company typically use email, text messages, or phone calls to communicate with clients?
  • Can the client choose the type of communication to be used as the job is in progress?
  • Is there a “point person” or do customers have to call different departments to get answers?

Fit Out Costs

  • How much will the job cost? Can the company give a comprehensive quote?
  • What are the payment terms and conditions?
  • Can the price change as the job progresses?

Remember, cost is not the most important point to consider when choosing a commercial fit out company. In fact, you should be wary of working with a company that charges far less than its competitors. Such companies may use substandard materials, lack insurance for workers, or fail to calculate important expenses until the last minute.

Fit Out Timing

  • How long will it realistically take to complete the fit out?
  • Are there factors that could speed up or slow down the process? If so, what are they and how will you deal with them?
  • Are there things a client can do to speed up the process?


Bear in mind that a boutique commercial office fit out company such as QTC Build is more likely to complete projects early or on time than a large firm juggling multiple fit out jobs at once.

Every business needs to have an efficient, effective, attractive office space. Pay close attention to the fit out company you hire to ensure the job is done right the first time. The time and effort you put into choosing the right construction company will pay off both now and in the future.

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