Open or Closed? Types of Collaborative Workspace and Why it Matters

The debate on office design has been raging for as long as there have been offices. Whether it’s better to opt for open, airy office space or multiple private closed spaces is still a topic of hot debate.

Trends have come and gone, and there has been a lot of research conducted into how the different plans affect how we feel and how productive we are. As with many of these divisive issues, the solution usually lies somewhere in the middle ground.

Coworking spaces have also had to contend with different ideas about the type of office design that works best. At Areaworks, we can see both sides of the debate and we have come up with custom designs for our collaborative workspaces that cater to both. This means offering both open and private spaces to our coworkers. Our aim is to strike a healthy balance which gives everyone in the space the best of both worlds.

Getting a perfect office isn’t easy, and this is why we’re always open to new ideas that will make each shared workspace a better place to work for our members. Offices are like homes, they develop over time and take on an atmosphere that is largely down to the people who occupy them, and so we do our best to create a vibe that is conducive to great productivity with collaborative potential.

There are many pros and cons to both types; but, which design suits you?

Open Offices

Open offices are airy, accessible and have a communal feel.


  • Collaborative workspace – An open office provides more opportunity for people to network and collaborate. This is especially good in a shared coworking space, as there are likely to be lots of potential opportunities for people working in different fields to come together and work on a collaborative project.
  • Company – Sometimes work can be isolating, and this is very true for those who work alone such as freelancers or self-employed people. An open office can give you the feeling of being with other people, working together, even if you’re working on something different to the person opposite you.
  • Mobility – In an open-plan office, especially in a coworking space, you have more mobility; you can often choose where to sit or move to an area that works best for the task at hand.


  • Distraction – If people are talking, moving around or doing something that looks more fun than your boring spreadsheet, then, of course, you’re going to get distracted. Distraction is a common problem in offices that don’t have separate breakout areas for people to go to when they are not focusing on a task.
  • Privacy – Sometimes, we all need privacy to work on something. It may be a difficult task, a delicate phone call or a project that you aren’t quite ready to reveal to the world just yet. A completely open office can leave people feeling a little exposed.
  • Noise – Open offices have less structure to absorb and buffer the noise, and so you can hear all the noise – from the squeaking shoes to the chit chats at the opposite side of the desk. These add to the distractions and can make it difficult for you to focus.

Closed Offices

Closed offices have separate sections for individuals to occupy.


  • Peace and Quiet – One of the main benefits of a closed office design is the ability to focus more easily on work because there is less noise and distraction. A space that is more peaceful can help with productivity.
  • Professionalism – A closed office space can give a more professional look to your business, especially if you are meeting with potential clients, customers or business partners.
  • Privacy – Phone calls and video conferences are much easier in a closed office layout; a private space can make you feel much more comfortable to speak freely and discuss delicate matters such as finances.


  • Isolation – Working alone can be lonely and isolation has a negative effect on productivity. Being around other people can be hugely motivating on a personal level as well as on a business level.
  • Cost – Closed office designs tend to be more costly as they require more structure, and they can cater to fewer people. This increases the overheads of everyone within the space.
  • Missing Out – Working within a closed office design can mean that you miss out on valuable opportunities to meet other professionals. Networking with others can link you up with potential customers and lead you to lucrative collaborative opportunities.

The Solution

As mentioned, we at Areaworks have come up with a solution that aims to give every individual or company the space they need (or want). We combine open areas with private spaces so that you can choose the right space for whatever stage of work you’re at.

With our available spaces, we combine the best of both worlds without the need to compromise –private spaces for meetings and those times when you need to seriously knuckle down, and open-plan spaces for when you want to be around other people or are working on a collaborative project.

We’re also hugely passionate about great breakout spaces. Having a place where you can be casual, have a coffee, chat or just unwind is essential. Not only does it give you a chance to recharge so you can go back to your work with renewed drive, but it also means that there are fewer distractions in the working areas.

Instead of huge spaces crammed with desks, we create zones that allow you to do what you need to do in comfort. We’re crazy about plants in the office, and these break up the space and add to the light and airy feel while providing some buffering between different zones.

The result is not one space, but a series of spaces that work together to give everyone a dynamic, working office that doesn’t just accommodate people, but actually supports their productivity and encourages collaboration. Collaborative workspaces are all about making it easy for people to reach out to each other, but that is just one half of the story – once connections have been made, ideas have been shared and relationships have been forged, there is always a need for the peace and quiet, and privacy that you get with the closed office style.

Coworking Flexibility in Collaborative Workspaces

At Areaworks, we’ve had the pleasure of watching businesses grow and flourish. We have seen freelancers become companies and lone workers become coworking collaborators. We’ve always remained flexible and adaptable to meet the changing needs of the people working within our coworking spaces. A good office design is great, but what about when your needs change? Coworking can adapt to your changing needs in the way that a home office or private office space cannot.

Come See Us

Customising your workspace to meet your unique needs is the key to getting things done well. If you’re looking for a collaborative workspace for rent and you want to get a feel of our unique spaces, then the best way to do it is to drop in and have a tour. Check out how our space can facilitate your business and grab a coffee while you’re here.

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