July 8, 2019

How do you decide on the best office layout?

open plan office

Over the past few decades moving to open plan offices has been a no brainer. In recent years however, the metaphorical waters have become a tad murky…


For years now companies have been changing their office spaces to open plan layouts in the search for increased collaboration, communication and teamwork. From trendy tech start-ups to long established names in every industry, organisations have been switching to open plan in the hope for increased productivity and efficiency.

In recent years however, the open plan approach has been subject to criticism. It has been confirmed that in some cases the increase noise, distractions and transparency has negatively impacted the workforce. Research has suggested that these issues eventually lead to uncooperative behaviour, distrust, and negative personal relationships.

This negative stereotype of open plan offices at the moment. This in turn is fuelling a discussion over what office spaces are best. Open plan? Cubicles? Team Clusters? Individual private offices? Or some kind of hybrid layout with element from multiple approaches?

Well, we can’t tell you what to do – you know your organisation better than we do and, of course, each organisation is different. There is no one size fits all solution, there are benefits and drawbacks to each approach.

However, we can help you come to a more informed decision about the right approach for you.

We can give you the information you need to reach accurate and definitive conclusions about how you currently use your office space, to help inform decisions about your needs for the future.

Under-desk sensors are a great way of helping to build a picture of how existing space is used. Data gathered by projects like these can be invaluable to organisations debating changing their office structure or layout, or organisations who operate a hot desking policy.

The principle is simple – PIR (passive infrared) sensors are placed underneath a desk. When they detect movement (when someone is sat at the desk) they report back that that desk is in use. Software can then process this data to present it in meaningful format.

Data provided by such systems can tell an employer:

  • What proportion of desk/office space is in use at any one time
  • Which desks have the most use, and which desks have the least use
  • The average number of desks used over weekly, monthly and yearly time periods
  • Which departments best utilise their office space

Among many other things.

Take a look over our Desk and Room Sensors area of our website for more information.


Other sources of information presented in this post can be found here:

http://theconversation.com/open-plan-offices-are-not-inherently-bad-youre-probably-just-using-them-wrong-113689

https://theconversation.com/a-new-study-should-be-the-final-nail-for-open-plan-offices-99756