Open vs closed plan office

When it comes to office space planning, it isn’t a case of one size fits all. Every business is different and has different requirements for its office layout.

There are lots of different factors to consider when choosing between an open or closed office plan.

If you’re struggling with the layout of your office, this guide is for you. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about open and closed office plans.

Open office vs closed office – which is best?

Open and closed office plans both come with pros and cons. The right option for your company’s needs will depend on factors such as your business offering, privacy needs, vision, employee engagement requirements and what works best for your team.

Finding the balance between creating an inspiring yet productive office space can be a difficult task for many businesses. It’s one of the key considerations to take into account when comparing open and closed office spaces.

Here are some of the pros and cons of closed and open offices.

Open office – pros and cons

Promoting transparency, collaboration and engagement, open plan offices don’t have enclosed spaces, separate rooms or walled areas. Instead, employees work in a large open space next to their colleagues. Although spaces are open for people to work freely, there are usually still dedicated meeting and social areas.

Inspiring greater efficiency and a sense of teamwork, open offices are extremely popular, particularly amongst creative businesses.

What are the advantages of open plan offices?

Open plan offices offer a number of advantages, including:


One of the main advantages of open plan offices is that they create an inspiring and energetic working environment where employees can work together, side by side. Favoured by companies that encourage employee engagement and teamwork, such as marketing agencies, sales companies, newsrooms and graphic design agencies, open office layouts have been proven to optimise employee satisfaction levels.


An open plan office is far more cost effective than a closed office space, as you are able to accommodate more heads per square foot. You also won’t typically need to invest in as much furniture.


Open plan offices are extremely accessible and, even if there are dedicated areas for certain job roles, all departments can be accessed easily. Encouraging open conversations and optimum flexibility, open plan working environments also facilitate inspiration and innovation.

Open office desk and chair layout

You may also like to read our article: 5 Benefits of an Open Plan Office Space

What are the disadvantages of open plan offices?


Noise can often be a major issue in open plan offices. This, in turn, can have a huge impact on some employees’ productivity, especially if they need a quite space to work.

Spreading illness

Another disadvantage of open plan offices is that, if a member of your workforce becomes ill, there’s a high risk that the rest of your workforce will too, especially those working in close proximity to each other.


With so many people working within an open space, it’s easy for employees to clash, especially if there are lots of big personalities working together. This can create unnecessary stress in the workplace.

Closed offices spaces

A closed office is significantly different to an open plan office, featuring lots of enclosed working areas, where employees have their own space to work independently and in private.

Featuring office cubicles, walls to divide spaces and panels to control noise levels, closed offices are used across a wide range of different professional service businesses including law firms, the banking industry and accounting agencies. Closed office spaces are particularly popular at the moment as many companies have had to implement strict social distancing rules in response to COVID-19.

What are the advantages of closed office spaces?

Improved productivity

With minimum distractions, closed offices spaces often allow employees to get more done.

Optimum privacy

Of course, it goes without saying that closed office spaces offer far more privacy than open office spaces. Privacy can be a major concern in some sectors, so it’s important that office environments are set up to offer private working and meetings if needed.

A defined hierarchy

Finally, one of the main advantages of closed office spaces is that they highlight the office hierarchy, based on where employees are working from. For example, managers are likely to have their own office booth away from the rest of the workforce.

Closed office with separate meeting rooms

How to get the best of both types of office

If you have an open office, what can you do to reduce noise, distractions and stress?

When it comes to planning an open office, there’s lots of different types of furniture you can add in order to reduce noise, distractions and stress levels, including Buzzi Bracks pods, office pods, floor standing partitions and screens.

If you have a closed office, what can you do to promote collaboration and discussion?

If you opt for a closed office, there are still plenty of ways to encourage collaboration, including adding breakout office sofas and stools, meeting pods, reception seating and high back sofas.

Hush hubs office pod for meetings dams

Why choose BT Office Furniture?

Here at BT Office Furniture, we supply and install a whole host of flexible office furniture throughout most of the UK. We’ve got everything you need to create both closed and open office spaces.

With almost 50 years’ experience, our team of professionally trained installers have extensive product knowledge when it comes to finding the best furniture for your needs.

If you require further information about any of our products, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team. Our friendly, helpful and professional office planning team is always on hand to answer any of your questions.