Is an open office design a good idea?

By Scott Hamele

Interruptions are a time killer

OVERLAND PARK, KS- Open office design trends have come and gone through the years. There are many significant reasons to incorporate an open office design into a space plan including a collaborative environment, creative work spaces, costs of walls versus cubicles, etc. The goal of an open office is also to encourage co-workers to intermingle more. Office doors are often removed and cubicle walls lowered. Collective break rooms and corporate cafes are very popular.

“Let’s not forget, the most important function of an office is to provide a space in which a person is to carry out his or her duties for an organization in an efficient manner. That should trump any design decisions,” says Scott Hamele, President of Construction DesignWorks, Inc.

Most would agree that there are a far greater number of interruptions in an open office environment than a private office space plan. Studies have been performed for years focused on what the effects of interruptions are on office workers. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, a study found that “Employees in cubicles are interrupted 29% more than those in private offices, research from the University of California, Irvine shows.”

Research has shown that an employee averages 49 interruptions per day. Studies show it can take up to 25 minutes to resume a task to 100% concentration levels. Non-productive time can total 2.25 hours per day, 1.4 days per week, 6 days per month or 72 days per year.   That is tens of thousands of dollars thrown right out the window per year.

If you are planning an open office design, Herman Miller offers their Living Office Design Solutions which include Individual Stations, Group Settings, Hives, Clubhouse and Forums. However, do not discount the economic impact of interruptions in in an open office environment.

Construction DesignWorks uses its hands-on approach and design expertise to create and build professional interior spaces specialized for each customer. Their complete turnkey solutions align with the unique business needs of various types of real estate. Construction DesignWorks, Inc. is located at 21961 West 83rd Street in Shawnee, Kansas. For more information, call (913) 745-4727 or visit their website at