The Open Office Rethink: Designing Workspaces for a Hybrid World

mazirow april blog post graphic 1

The right office environment plays a crucial role in maximizing productivity, minimizing employee turnover, and fostering a positive work culture. But with the rise of remote work and hybrid models, the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to office design for commercial real estate  is becoming a relic of the past.

Open office plans, once touted as the pinnacle of collaboration, are now under scrutiny. While the initial concept was to break down physical barriers and spark communication, research paints a different picture. Constant noise and a lack of privacy can actually hinder in-person interaction. Employees might hesitate to have casual chats or brainstorm openly due to distractions and the feeling of being constantly on display.

So, it’s time to revisit the open office concept in commercial real estate. Here’s what we caution when we’re engaged in tenant representation for a client:

Myth Busted: Open Offices Don’t Automatically Equal Collaboration

The open office philosophy assumed removing physical barriers would lead to effortless information exchange. However, studies suggest the opposite can occur. The constant buzz of conversation, ringing phones, and keyboard clicks can be overwhelming for those seeking focus. Additionally, the lack of privacy can make employees hesitant to discuss confidential information or engage in spontaneous brainstorming sessions where wild ideas might be thrown around.

Accommodating Diverse Work Styles: A Spectrum of Needs

Your team is a collection of unique individuals, each with their own preferences when it comes to their work environment. Some thrive in the energy of a bustling open area, using background noise to fuel their focus. On the other hand, others require quiet solitude to concentrate on deep work tasks.

The ideal workspace caters to this spectrum of needs. This means offering a variety of zones within the office. Quiet zones with soundproofing materials and designated “no phone” policies can provide a haven for focused work. Collaboration areas equipped with whiteboards, comfortable seating, and movable furniture can spark creative brainstorming sessions. Phone booths or small meeting rooms offer essential privacy for confidential calls or video conferences.

Beyond Openness: Balancing Collaboration with Privacy

While open offices can encourage interaction between departments, they might unintentionally highlight hierarchies. Imagine an open workspace where everyone can see each other –  a scenario where Mark Zuckerberg’s rumored private conference room at Facebook might send a subconscious message about true accessibility.

The solution lies in striking a balance between openness and privacy. Providing individual workstations or private offices alongside collaboration areas empowers employees to choose the environment that best suits their task. This could be a designated desk for focused work, a reservable quiet room for confidential calls, or an open collaboration zone for brainstorming sessions.

The Bottom Line: Invest in Flexibility for a Thriving Workforce

Open office plans might save on square footage (and the cost of your commercial real estate lease) in the short term, but at what cost to employee well-being and productivity? As a tenant advisor, we tell clients that the future of office design is all about flexibility. By offering a variety of spaces with different noise levels and privacy settings,  you empower employees to take control of their work environment. This fosters a sense of ownership and can lead to increased focus, better collaboration, and ultimately, a more productive and satisfied workforce.

In today’s hybrid work environment, where remote work and office time are likely to coexist, creating a space that caters to diverse needs is no longer a suggestion, it’s a necessity.

Are you searching for your next perfect office space? As a tenant advisor, Mazirow Commercial negotiates leases to get you the right price and amenities, and save you from surprise fees or laws that aren’t commonly known by the public. The landlord is fully informed about the terms of the market place, are you? Don’t go to the table alone, contact us today at (805) 449-1945 or visit for your tenant representation. We are the tenant advocate for the Greater Los Angeles and West Los Angeles Area, San Fernando Valley, Conejo Valley, Ventura County, Santa Monica, Glendale, and more.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Ready to start saving time, money, and headaches on your commercial lease? Schedule a free consultation today with one of our skilled tenant representation specialists.