How does the layout of your office affect productivity?

You have just acquired office space in a newly constructed building; the electricity is working fine, the employees are all pumped about working in a new office, and now you have to set up an office plan. While most offices opt for the bullpen plan, there has been a lot of discussion about open floor offices encouraging too much collaboration. But, it all depends on the kind of work you and your employees take care of, and the office dynamics.

The Bullpen: Pros


It is easier to work on group projects with the bullpen model. An increased exposure to team mates means that everybody is updated about a project.

No “corner office”

In such a setup, the employees do not aspire for a corner office, and the whole focus is on contribution towards work. In fact, the CEO sits with the remaining staff members.

Open communication

With the absence of walls, it becomes easier to talk to the person sitting next to you. Such a setup encourages people to talk to each other and also to get advice and help.

No department groups

With the bullpen model, there is no rigidity that comes with departments of an organisation. Infact, people can be grouped into teams according to projects.

The Bullpen: Cons

No privacy

In this kind of an office, everybody can see what is on your screen and what you are doing at your station. It can be tad difficult to take phone calls at your desk.

Not everyone will be comfortable

This setup might not appeal to everyone. In fact, introverts might have a hard time adjusting to the bullpen system.

Noise and distraction

Open floor plans usually make concentrating difficult. The office is more likely to get noisy, and employees might just whip out their headphones to cope with the distractions. It is easier to lose concentration when you see other co-workers slacking off and chatting away.

The Cubicle: Pros

Increased privacy

A cubicle gives you more privacy than an open floor. You can take phone calls, attend meetings, meet with a co-worker, and work in your own pace.

Encourages feeling of ownership

Every employee will have complete control over his/her work station. They will be able to decorate it as they wish. This will give them an opportunity to express themselves in their own space.

Reduced distractions

The walls of a cubicle are able to cut off noise and can give employees a certain level of privacy that will help them work in a focused way. In fact, most of the employees prefer working than spending time chatting away.

The Cubicle: Cons


Such a setup might make employees feel like drones working away at their computers. In many cases, such a setup tends to lower the morale and makes each day feel onerous.

Decreased team atmosphere

Cubicles are designed to encourage individual work, and affect teamwork negatively. Partitions ensure that employees will not be able to see others working towards the company’s goal.

Decreased socialisation

Partitions and cubicles limit co-worker interactions. It is advisable to encourage ten or twenty minute breaks away from the cubicles during the day. This will help in increasing their productivity when they return to the work at hand.

That said, every company selects the floor plan that best suits its work and everyday responsibilities. Successful companies have used both floor plans, and it is always a good idea to ask your employees to know what they would feel comfortable in.

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