We’ve all been part of this debate about whether we should have an open-plan office or not. In general, executives would advocate for the open-plan office, while the individual contributors would say, “Please, no!!!” ;). Executives won’t listen because they feel they are the only ones who can see the full picture clearly enough to make this decision…of course!
Before the internet, I’d say open office plans would have been far better than siloing people in offices. But we’ve found much better solutions to the problem. Tools like Slack enable teams to be more connected without imposing distractions with no opt-out option. So now cost is the only real benefit for open plans. Small startups usually can’t afford to give everyone a personal office.
One thing I’ve seen in my previous offices is that, even if there is an open office design, it doesn’t always foster collaboration. Even in those spaces, team members who needed to collaborate would use a conference room to meet and review code. Or, like @Dane mentioned, we would use Slack or other communication tools.
There is definitely a time and a place for open offices, but in my experience, they don’t always solve the problems they are designed to solve.
As an Introvert, I find the open office plan extremely distracting. My current office has cubicles with 1/2 walls on the front. Even this is a big improvement.
Should your startup have an office at all?