Types of Office Layouts

by Madison Garcia; Updated September 26, 2017

Offices come in many shapes and sizes with many ways to arrange workspaces within the larger office setting. Some layouts -- like cellular offices -- promote focused work and comfort while others -- like open offices -- enhance communication and teamwork.

Cellular Office

What It is

A cellular office layout consists of sequentially arranged offices or cubicles for one or more people. The offices often are situated along the building facade and are accessed from shared hallways.

What's Good About It

Cellular offices promote autonomous work and allow for more focus and confidentiality, according to Bene, an office design and product supply business. The individual offices allow for privacy and the multi-person offices facilitate communication with other employees in the office. Knoll, a furniture and office design company, notes that many employees feel more secure having their own space and enjoy the noise reduction.

Open Office Plan

What it is

Unlike cellular office plans, open office plans are characterized by no or low partitions. Employees may have separate desks or may share a large or long table. Although each employee may have a distinct area with a chair and computer, the overall workspace is shared and nonterritorial.


  • Teams and employees working on a similar project can be grouped together in an open office layout.

What's Good About It

Knoll mentions that open-space offices do more to promote community than cellular offices do. Communication is easier and employees feel more comfortable asking questions in an open environment. It's a good solution for employees who don't want to feel alone at work or want to know what's going on at all times.

On the employer side, open offices are an efficient use of space. According to Bene, an open office plan can accommodate around 50 percent more workstations than the average cellular office does.

Combination Office

What it is

For companies that want the best of open and cellular layouts, a combination office also is an option. Individual and multiperson offices and cubicles still exist in the combination office, but they may be smaller than they are in a cellular office. Instead of being connected by hallways, the offices surround common spaces with tables, chairs and even couches.

What's Good About it

Maintaining individual offices allows employees privacy and focus for solo work. The common area allows employees to still communicate information and coordinate on group projects. Bene notes that this layout works best for employees who need to shift frequently between individual work and team work.

Co-Working Office

What it is

In today's world, workers don't need to be bound to one work spot. Increasingly, employees and business owners do their work on laptops and tablets that allow them to be mobile. A co-working office is an office sharing arrangement between individuals who want to come and go as they please.

The layout of an open office varies wildly. Many co-working spaces are similar to open office layouts while others offer private offices and desks. In a co-working space, a worker may or may not have his own space. The co-working office may have a first-come, first-serve policy that allows workers to set up wherever there is free space. Others assign specific desks to specific workers.

What's Good About it

Co-working spaces often are designed for self-employed individuals who don't have an office space of their own. By paying a small fee, these individuals can enjoy the benefits of a workspace, like social interaction and networking opportunities. It also allows self-employed workers space to meet with customers and potential clients. Money Crashers points out that many individuals find the professional setting and lack of interactions of a co-working space improves their time management.

About the Author

Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.

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