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Private office with Michigan State University mural on wall.

When are Private Offices Right for a Workplace?

In recent years, a lot of the discussion around workplace design has focused on the idea of open plan offices. When are they right for a company? Do they really help people be more productive and build stronger social connections? What can be done to address common complaints about open offices? 

With all the talk around open plan offices, it’s important to remember that private offices do still have a place in today’s workplace. But, as is the case with open offices, whether or not private offices are a good idea for a company can depend on a few different factors. Very often, companies can do well with a combination of private offices and open workstations. So how do you know if open offices are right for you?

Privacy Needs

One of the biggest benefits private offices have to offer is, well, the privacy. But for some companies, that extra privacy is more than something that’s just nice to have – it’s essential to their day-to-day operations. A financial advisor, for example, needs to be able to discuss specific financial issues with their clients. When people are working with clients to handle sensitive personal matters, private offices will help protect confidentiality and make clients feel more at ease during meetings.

Managing Noise

If you’re considering private offices, think about how much time people spend making calls. Noise is one of the most common complaints people have about open offices, so if people frequently need to make calls during the day, private offices are likely to be highly appreciated. Not just by the people making the phone calls, but by others working nearby who may find the noise distracting.

Private office with exposed brick walls.Communication & Collaboration

How do people tend to work with each other in your company? Do people frequently need to interact with each other or do people tend to work by themselves? For example, computer programmers tend to do better in open office areas since their work can be highly collaborative. On the other hand, in a law office, you might find attorneys in private offices and paralegals working in a shared open area since paralegals may be directly collaborating with each other while the attorneys need more privacy to meet with clients and concentrate on more complex matters. 

Private office with glass walls.Future Growth

One of the most common reasons why companies opt for open offices is because they want the flexibility to reconfigure their space as the company grows. Since private offices will limit your ability to rework your space, think about what you expect your future growth to look like. Are you expecting your team to grow significantly in the next few years or are you expecting to stay pretty consistent in terms of size?

Company Culture

When trying to decide if private offices are right for your office, it’s also good to think about the culture you want your company to have. Open offices are typically associated with companies that want a relaxed, modern, and creative type of atmosphere. On the other hand, private offices tend to be seen as more traditional and formal. Even as open office environments have grown in popularity, private offices are often still seen as a status symbol.

Need help creating the perfect workplace for your company? Premier Construction & Design has experience creating spaces for a wide range of companies in the metro Detroit area. Take a look at our portfolio to see examples of projects we’ve worked on. When you’re ready to get started, contact us so that we can learn more about your project.