The Great Office Space Debate Rages On | LinkedIn

Posted on by Brandon Klein

I’ve worked in just about every kind of office, from old-school traditional where the important people had doors that closed and the rest of us had high-wall cubicles that afforded privacy, to spacious open desks with only computer monitor for privacy from the person facing me, to a bustling newsroom with cramped desk space just big enough for some notebooks and a phone and a colleague on each side.

These days, open floor plans and open doors seem to be in favor as companies remodel work spaces or move to new digs. The International Facility Management Association reports that 68% of North American employees work in an office with an open floor plan or open seating, writes Michelle Goodman in a story for BBC Capital. In Europe, open office spaces have been more common for a while.

My current office is made up of long rows of facing tables with no real dividers between desks and myriad gathering spaces—living rooms with shag carpets and couches or egg-shaped chairs, high-top tables bordered by a bead faux wall, small corners with tables and comfy seats, and plenty of conference rooms.

The gathering spots don’t offer much in the way of privacy and the conference rooms seem to always be booked, but, at least I have my own desk. Some of my colleagues in London have recently begun hot-desking—they no longer have assigned desks, but instead they sit where they can find a spot, connect a laptop and log in to a phone. Sure, people tend to sit in the same general area, but at night, employees are supposed to bring their laptop and other belongings to an assigned locker for the night.

That’s a concept Citrix, a company with more than 8,000 employees in 35 countries, has employed to an extreme, writes Goodman. The company has “converted half its office buildings into more open, collaborative work spaces. In doing so, the mobile solutions company has driven real estate costs to about 4% of the company budget, down from 6.5%.” There isn’t a desk for everyone, but not every employee is in the office every day. (Check out the open concept in photos from Citrix and Zurich Insurance.)