If you’re looking for the best open plan offices London has to offer, here’s everything you need to know. Open plan offices are here to stay. Mark Zuckerberg set the new office standard when he commissioned Frank Gehry to design “the largest open-plan office in the world” for Facebook’s latest premises in San Francisco.
His vision was “to make the perfect engineering space: one giant room that fits thousands of people, all close enough to collaborate together.” With giant warehouses being converted, and Shards and Cheesegraters popping up everywhere, there are some seriously spacious offices out there for those who share Zuckerberg’s love of open plan.
An open plan office is one that minimises the use of small, enclosed rooms or spaces. Forget little cubicles and private rooms, the open plan office is all about large, open spaces and a shared work environment.
When open plan offices first appeared over a century ago they resembled factory lines more than anything else, with hundreds of office workers sat at rows of desks. Today’s open plan offices have ditched this rigidity in favour of a more organic, fluid layout, with a variety of workspaces dotted around spacious office floors.
Flexibility of space
Spacious offices allow companies to play with space. Open plan offices give you one or more large, open rooms that can function as multiple rooms within a single workspace. Different areas of the space can be adapted to suit different departments or types of work - both collaborative and private, without the need for multiple rooms and walls.
A lack of walls allows natural light to flood the building, making for a much more positive environment for staff and clients.by Northwestern University in Chicago highlights just how important exposure to natural light is for workers’ health, happiness and wellbeing
Communication, creativity and collaboration
Everyone gets a welcome boost when you remove office walls. Interactions between colleagues and departments are much more frequent and informal. Open plan offices help with the flow of information and teamwork, and colleagues can turn to each other for help or to share ideas without the need to knock on doors.
Open plan offices are often cheaper to rent. Fewer walls also means less time and materials are required to create the office space. Businesses can save on heating, air conditioning and lighting costs thanks to the improved flow of air and light. An open plan space is also better able to handle changes in personnel numbers, project requirements and more easily adaptable to business growth.
Sound travels, and without walls to block out office chatter and ringing phones, some people may find open plan offices harder to concentrate in. To counter this, in modern offices businesses sometimes implement a 'headphones on' policy whereby if someone has their headphones on that signals 'do not disturb'.
It can be harder to find a place for a private chat in an open plan space. However, many of today’s shared and private open plan offices come with meeting rooms, breakout spaces and quiet areas designed for private one-to-ones and more focused work.
Definitely. Open plan spaces are cheaper to construct, so they often come with a lower price tag.
Open spaces also lend themselves perfectly to the cost-saving hot desking model. A growing number of businesses are no longer providing desks for all their workers, because a percentage of staff are not in the office at any given time. In an open space, non-desk work areas can cater for a fluid traffic of those who come and go during the course of a day. The result is efficiency savings for businesses who no longer need to provide a private desk for every single member of the team.
Hubble has desks available in open plan offices in London from less than £100 per month.
We’ve made it easy to find an open plan office in London that’s the perfect fit for you.
Whether you’re a freelancer looking for a hot desk part-time, a start-up looking for some fixed desk spaces for your team, or an established firm seeking out a spacious private office, you’ll find loads of open plan options, and an instant snapshot of how much office rents are right now in your ideal area.
Rising rents and limited space means that there will never be enough private office space in London for every company and freelancer. For that reason alone, the open plan office is here for the long haul.
But they’re sure to adapt to meet our changing needs. While we love the egalitarian aspect of open plan, half of workers surveyed by the British Council for Offices last year said they were dissatisfied with noise levels in their open plan workspaces.
If Google’s new King’s Cross offices are anything to go by, with their sleep pods, pop-up meeting rooms and quiet workspaces, the future of open plan looks set to mix up private and open space in more creative ways.
In a recent interview with the Telegraph, Jeremy Myerson, the Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design at the Royal College of Art, explained that open plan office design is “moving towards what is known in the the trade as ‘activity-based working’, in which people have a range of spaces