Do’s and don’ts of open plan office design

Here are a few headlines and stats we’ve read online this year relating to office design:

  •  69% of the boomers surveyed said they are comfortable with an open office as long as noise and distractions are limited (read more)
  • One of the biggest complaints people have about open office layouts is noise (read more)
  • The study found that an open office reduced face-to-face interactions by about 70% (read more)
Solutions4 London Showroom

You could argue that open plan offices have a terrible reputation but the devil is in the detail when it comes to effective office design. There isn’t an exact science to planning the ‘correct’ office space but we’ve listed a few do’s and don’ts below which will serve as a good starting point. Here we go…


  • Define your workspace objectives – It’s a great idea to seek feedback from your workforce about your current office space. You might find some elements of the space are valuable or, the feedback confirms your suspicious around that under-utilised space etc. If your workspace doesn’t fit in with your company brand values, now is a good time to address it in the office design.
  • Work to a budget – Effective office layouts, including open plan ones, will have received some degree of space planning consultation. Couple this with quality office furniture (ideally multi-purpose), a budget will keep your project on-track.
  • Appoint a project leader – Perhaps not required for small office fitouts, but having someone inhouse (a colleague) who can advocate plans, keep stakeholders up-to-date and help coordinate the project will save you hassle.
  • Sketch your ideas out – Get creative! If the budget for an office reconfiguration or office move has been approved by your senior management team, now is the time to get creative. Office layouts should be powered by a company, with space planning experts providing that polish and guidance.


  • Neglect your acoustic and storage solutions – Just because the majority of a workforce enjoy open-plan working, don’t neglect those that need a quiet and private space to get work done. And if you’re lucky enough to enjoy a large open-plan office, it can often provide a storage challenge whereby there is no obvious place to put ‘stuff’.
  • ‘Fix what aint broke’ – If you’ve carried out an office space audit and company survey, you might find your current office environments ticks all the right boxes and no major updates are needed.
  • Rush the process – Office updates should be completed within a sensible time-frame to minimise disruption to colleagues. However, by rushing a project you should expect to pay a premium on furniture delivery.
  • Forget about natural light. Natural light is your best friend during any office design process. It’s a connector of nature to the manmade workplace and is essential for workers to maintain a healthy working experience. Lots of thought goes into artificial lighting that is provided across an office but an equal amount of concentration on natural sunlight will benefit the client. The best use of natural light needs to be invoked, it’s hugely important to manage it correctly.
  • Ignore break-out space provision. The incorporation of less formal furniture across the floorspace can help collaborative working and allow staff to mingle with their colleagues across different departments and share information. It’s also important to have regular breaks from a traditional workstation and break-out areas are great at prompting this. Read our blog about it here.

Office design is crucial and Solutions4 have years of experience relocating national companies into new offices across the UK. The majority of office layouts include an open-plan element which centre around breakout areas and flexible work spaces where colleagues can get together.

Whether you’re based in Leeds, London or Suffolk; if you are planning an office move or a reconfiguration and would like an expert opinion; why not drop an email to Richard and Andy at Solutions4?

Get in touch if you’d like to arrange a coffee meeting with the Solutions4 team

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