It’s pretty common to see open-plan offices these days, where desks or workspaces are clustered in a large open area, with a few offices lingering on the outskirts. It’s a good option for businesses because it provides a cheaper re-fit option: construction costs are lower and it allows more people can fit into a space, meaning lower rental costs.

But creating a good open-plan office isn’t as easy as it appears, particularly if this is a new transition for your business. If you are moving from a heavily officed scenario or looking to move to non-permanent desking (where you have fewer desks than people or hot desks), there are some things you should consider:

Open plan is great for communication and teamwork, but staff also need a quiet space for when they need to really concentrate. There will be occasions when staff need to make a private call or write a report or just think without someone else’s sales’ call jarring them – spaces to support these functions are necessary.

You need to be careful about how you place teams within the open-plan scheme. Not all teams work well with exposure to other more vocal groups. For example, marketing often needs to collaborate, chat and brainstorm; finance does not. The differences between team requirements are important to consider for everyone to be happy in their work.

Consider a collaboration space, for when groups of people or teams get together to discuss developments, ideas or brainstorm. Your collaboration space should be away from open plan areas or your focus space so as not to disturb the people needing quiet.

You’ll need breakout spaces for people to either work or have a quick meeting. Breakout spaces can double as collaborative or quiet spaces.

A combination of open plan, focus space and collaborative space are all key elements for creating productive, efficient and profitable work environments. It also makes for happier and more engaged employees.

A combination of open plan, focus space and collaborative space are all key elements for creating productive, efficient and profitable work environments. It also makes for happier and more engaged employees. An open plan gets the best out of staff when designed in a way to support their key functions.