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Space Design – The Open Space Balancing Act

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Open floor plans are the big fad for now, especially in the coworking world. Something about them feels hip, anti-corporate, and more collaborative.

Personally, I enjoy big, open coworking spaces. They are visually appealing. They can and do provide very enticing benefits as well, just not the ones you’d think.

First, the problems with open floor plans:

They are distracting. Not just audibly distracting, but visually distracting as well. Imagine you’re trying to concept a new design or strategize your marketing campaign with people constantly walking by and people casually chatting all around you. Busy, open workplaces are terrible for deep work.

Because of this, they can often decrease creativity.

They also decrease productivity.

Now, the reasons you should still keep your open space:

Curb appeal. Coworking spaces, especially with retail locations, that that have a beautiful and large open space near the front entrance are more appealing on first impression. This will result in walk-ins, better pictures for your website and social media, and ultimately more tour requests.

Events. Having an open space is the only way to host quality events. Quality events are the #1 way that almost every coworking space attracts new members.

Vibe. Once they are on the tour, prospective members get a sense of the vibe of the your coworking space from the buzz going on in your open areas. They will still look for other amenities, but it’s an important factor for their purchasing decision.

Chance encounters, potential collaboration, and the feeling of community. It’s harder to foster these things when people are behind closed doors.

So, with these negatives and positives of open floor plans for coworking spaces, what can be done to get the best of both worlds?

To me, it’s as simple as planning in quiet, secluded spaces where people can get away. Plan for privacy, not private offices. Reserve some secluded desk areas and lounges for your open space workers, not just for desk and office members.

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