Open office spaces are all the rage. There’s kombucha on tap, team Nerf gun battles, and every day is casual Friday — right? Well, not always. But there are other benefits of open space offices.
Many companies are ditching their cubicles in favor of airy layouts that promote efficiency and better productivity. And it’s not all hype. Multiple studies suggest that open office spaces have real value when it comes to employee satisfaction and improved communication.
Today, roughly 37% of employees work in a totally open or mostly open office setting.1 Because so many companies are capitalizing on the benefits of open office design, experts predict that flexible working spaces are expected to make up one-third of the total office market by 2030.2
Whether you’re a freelancer or a fast-growing startup, leasing an open office could be the right move.
Why should you get an open office?
If your current office environment is leaving your team bored and uninspired, switching to an open-space office might help. Here are five of the biggest benefits of open concept office spaces:
We’ve all heard the phrase, “teamwork makes the dream work,” because teamwork fuels collaboration. Open office spaces make collaboration easier because employees can’t hide in the darkness of their cubicles. Communal workspaces enable employees to come together and collaborate in a way that feels natural and effortless. It can also help teams cut down on pointless meetings by frequently communicating throughout the day.
2. Culture collision
Many small businesses face roadblocks in productivity due to poor communication between siloed teams. That can be a big waste of time (and money). One of the benefits of open office design is culture collision, when previously isolated teams are able to communicate and collaborate more effectively because they work in close proximity. Culture collision also allows employees to develop friendships and socialize more often.
3. Connection and communication
When you run a small business with multiple employees, things can get lost in translation. Good communication is the secret sauce to success, which is one of the most significant open office benefits. Rather than sending an email or picking up the phone, you’re able to walk over to someone else’s desk and have a conversation with them face-to-face. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get things done and solve problems.
Overall employee happiness and contentment is another open office space benefit. Workers have to enjoy their work environment, especially when more than half of employees work longer than 40 hours per week.3 Open office spaces can make employees feel less lonely, more involved with their company, and more connected to colleagues. Plus, working in an open office builds company culture, which is essential for everything from hiring, to creativity, to growth.
According to experts, one of the most significant benefits of open office layout space is cost reduction. Leasing an open office space is usually cheaper than renting or buying an old-school cubicle farm. There are fewer overhead costs, better amenities, and great employee perks, and many offices are already furnished. Co-working and flexible workspaces also tend to be located in desirable areas, which can also help your company attract top talent.
Are there downsides to an open-office space?
Open office spaces can be a great solution for freelancers and small businesses alike. However, there can also be a few downsides to watch out for. For example, without private cubicles, employees who work in open offices tend to be more distracted. Desk neighbors might have loud phone conversations, blast music, or play ping pong all day in the background.
When employees become distracted, it can lead to stress. And when employees feel stressed in their environment, it can eventually lead to burnout, which can cause all kinds of issues — for retention, productivity, and ultimately your bottom line.
Another thing to consider is that many companies who switch from a traditional office to an open office report fewer interactions overall, despite working physically closer together.4 This is partly because most teams in open office spaces continue to communicate using email and other tech-based workflow tools, where messages can simply be ignored.
Despite the negatives, there are plenty of ways to make an open office space work for you and your team. Here are some suggestions:
- Offer private spaces: When you choose an open office, make sure there are some private spaces where employees can work in silence, take calls, or brainstorm. It’s a welcome refuge from distractions.
- Design it right: If you can, design the space to foster both individual productivity and group collaboration. Give employees their own desk, designate huddle rooms for quick meetings, and try to choose a space with natural light.
- Make it a group decision: Before you decide to switch to an open office space, ask your employees how they feel about it, and weigh the pros and cons together. You might discover that your team feels productive and satisfied with their current environment.
Protecting your business in an open office
Open office spaces are no longer a trend — they’re becoming the new norm for lots of small businesses and solopreneurs. An effective open office design improves communication, collaboration, and employee satisfaction, all of which are important for your business.
Before you decide to sign the papers on an open office space, consider getting a business owners policy (BOP), which is a bundle that includes general liability insurance and commercial property insurance. Here’s what it covers:
- General liability insurance: This coverage shields your business from some financial repercussions of third-party property damage and third-party bodily injury claims. It also responds to personal and advertising injury liability claims, like copyright infringement and libel.
- Commercial property insurance: This coverage protects your business property that is essential to your operations, like an office building that you own, or your computers and office furniture. If equipment gets damaged in a covered loss, this policy will pay to replace them (up to the policy’s limit).
With Thimble, you can get coverage for your open office space within minutes. Just click “get a quote” or download the Thimble mobile app. Answer a few questions online and our customer service reps will help you take it from there, faster than you can walk over to the kombucha dispenser. It’s insurance made simple!