Cubicles vs. Open Office: The Pros and Cons of Both

There has been much debate over which office design is most conducive to employee productivity, closed offices (cubicles) or open office designs. While both options have their pros and cons, it is completely dependent on your business which selection is right for you. We’ll go over the pros and cons of both closed and open office designs and give a few examples of companies that could benefit from each.


cubicles office layoutCubicles became a popular workplace option in the 1960’s to increase employee productivity in offices with large amounts of people. They consist of temporary, moveable walls that separate employees in a large work area. This type of office space is best suited for companies that require employees to do a large amount of heads-down thinking requiring concentration and focus. Industries like IT and finance do well in environments like these.

  • Diminishes auditory and visual distractions from others
  • Gives employees their own private space to work as they see fit
  • Divides up offices into equal amounts of space
  • Can seem cramped and stuffy
  • Much more expensive than large desks that can fit multiple employees
  • Takes up large amounts of valuable office space, reducing the number of employees able to fit

Open Office

open office layout

The open office concept has really taken off in the past few years and consists of large open workspaces with little to no separation. These spaces work best for companies that require a lot of employee collaboration and brainstorming. Think creative businesses like marketing or design.

  • Cost effective for businesses, reducing furniture overhead costs
  • Conveys a casual, innovative and dynamic work environment
  • Encourages collaboration and conversation between employees
  • Little to no privacy
  • Distractions are more prominent
  • Not conducive to different employee workstyles (ie: collaborating with others vs. concentrating alone)

While both cubicles and open office designs have their benefits and shortcomings, we believe the best workplace design solution is a blend of the two. Depending on the business, the design can lean more heavily to one side than the other, but a blend gives employees the option to both collaborate and concentrate when needed.

Interested in seeing some of our office design work? Check out our portfolio and contact us to design your commercial space!

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