Do I Really Need an Open Office?

Sometimes you just need your own space. How to build a collaborative workspace without sacrificing privacy

Written by Advisory Board

Photo: Jason Todd/Getty

Welcome to Advisory Board, a weekly department in which a panel of experts—made up of entrepreneurs and professionals—answer questions you have about how to run your business better.

This week, a reader asks:

“My company is looking to move into a bigger workspace as we grow and expand headcount. Should we adopt an open-plan office design, or do I need a corner cabin to keep up appearances?”

Here’s what the experts have to say:

An all-glass corner office let’s you keep the cool vibe culture, and gives you the privacy you need for the confidential or delicate conversations you will need to have as a CEO.”

Kelsey Ramsden, business guide and founder, SparkPlay Inc., London, Ont.

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“If you think you need a corner office to maintain the appearance of leadership, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your leadership style and corporate culture.”

John Wilson, founder and CEO, CEO Global Network, Toronto

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The best floor plan is the most open one, because it provides for easy, cost effective and reconfigurable solutions. But having some private space is necessary. Consider a floor plan that has open space for regular use, but also has rooms available for meetings, creative writing and client phone calls. The key to keeping private rooms €˜open’ is to use lots of windows and natural light to make them feel like they are part of the whole workspace.”

Shannon Bowen-Smed, president & CEO, BOWEN, Calgary

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“In my corporate travels, many employees have placed importance on their workspaces as well as office location and size. Your workspace needs to balance practicality with the statement you want to make about your corporate culture. You would be surprised how an open plan office encourages collaboration and team work.”

Phoebe Fung, proprietor, Vin Room and VR Wine, Calgary

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Do you have a question you’d like answered? Email us and we’ll put it to the experts. Have any advice to add to this list? Share your thoughts using the comments section below.

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