January 28, 2024

Designing an Individual Office: The Art of Improving Productivity

The layout and structure of offices has come to dominate conversations about worker productivity and well-being. According to recent research, employees' mental health and job performance may be significantly impacted by their physical workspace.

The argument between individual offices and open-plan workplaces is becoming more intense as businesses try to find a balance between individual focus and collaboration. In this investigation, we explore the complex details of individual offices, attempting to understand all aspects of their advantages and disadvantages, ideal sizes and efficient furnishing approaches. The ongoing discourse gains weight from several studies revealing that the physical environment significantly influences job satisfaction and overall well-being. In addition, many have also revealed that individuals working in spaces designed for privacy reported higher levels of job satisfaction and lower stress levels compared to their counterparts in open-plan offices.

As we embark on this exploration, it is clear that individual offices hold the promise of addressing some of the challenges caused by open-plan layouts. However, creating a well-designed individual office requires an in-depth comprehension of the several components that make up a productive workplace. The process of creating a productive workplace is complex, involving everything from the ideal size of individual offices to the benefits and drawbacks they offer. Let's analyze each office's layers and look at how we could adapt them to satisfy the various demands of the modern workforce. Read more about how you can improve productivity at work with Biophilic Design.

individual office

Individual Office vs. Open-Plan Office

The process of deciding between individual and open-plan offices and other office concepts is a significant and complex task which heavily influences the work culture and job satisfaction of every particular firm. An important research by Harvard Business Review explores this complex area and clarifies the different dynamics between these two workplace layouts. According to the research, individual offices tend to provide employees with higher degrees of privacy because of their unique emphasis on isolation.

As a result of this improved privacy, distractions are discouraged, creating an atmosphere that promotes better focus and work satisfaction. On the other hand, although being praised for its ability to promote teamwork and communication, the open-plan office style has certain drawbacks of its own. While open-plan workspaces foster a collaborative environment, they can also cause problems with excessive noise and a subsequent decrease in employee focus. The choice between individual and open-plan offices is therefore more complex than just a matter of layout and calls for careful examination of the diverse requirements and preferences of the workforce as well as a keen understanding of the possible effects on output and job satisfaction.

Individual Office Size

Finding the right size for a individual office is a process that goes beyond the 7,5 meters per person that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommends for a typical workplace. This complexity is a result of several factors, including the nature of the work, the requirements of the job and the demand for collaboration places.

Occupations requiring a lot of space or specific equipment could benefit from a bigger area in order to maximize functionality. The type of work itself also matters; jobs that call for a high level of focus might benefit from a smaller, more private workplace, whereas duties involving collaboration need a well-balanced incorporation of shared areas inside the individual office.

In the contemporary workplace, where cooperation is the cornerstone of creativity, the presence of collaborative areas is essential. Therefore, the optimal size for an individual workplace should allow for places that are set aside for collaboration, such as casual lounging areas or specific conference rooms.

Adding another level of complexity, storage solutions highlight the necessity of a well-thought-out individual workplace that provides thoughtful storage alternatives in addition to desk work and sitting. Organizations may create customized offices that meet the specific needs of the employees by taking into account factors like job dynamics, communication requirements and storage needs.

Single Office Advantages and Disadvantages

Single Office with a laptop


  1. Enhanced Privacy: One of the main benefits is the increased privacy that comes with having an individual workplace. Employees benefit from this privacy since it creates an exclusive location where they can work without being interrupted as regularly in open-plan situations. It also works as a protective cocoon. Apart from encouraging concentrated work, this feeling of isolation also makes employees feel more satisfied with their jobs as they have more control over their work environment.
  2. Reduced Distractions: When it comes to individual workplaces, the notable reduction in distractions becomes an important benefit. Individual offices provide a peaceful retreat in contrast to open-plan areas, where background noise and visual stimulation might interfere with focus. Employees may curate and manage their local work environment, which greatly increases productivity when distractions are reduced. This concentrated environment is especially helpful for jobs that call for deep attention and innovative thinking.
  3. Personalization: The option for staff members to customize their own workspaces gives the workplace a more personal touch. This customization goes beyond simple decoration; it becomes a representation of the unique personality and tastes of the individual. A person's workplace may become a canvas for self-expression through the arrangement of personal belongings, furniture and artwork. This unique touch adds comfort and a sense of ownership in addition to improving the aesthetic appeal. A workspace that reflects their individuality gives employees drive and comfort, creating an uplifting and empowering work environment.


  1. Isolation: Although having more privacy in one's own workplace is a big benefit, workers may unintentionally feel more alone because of it. These spaces' cocoon-like shape may restrict the spontaneous conversations and companionship that frequently flourish in open-plan workplaces. A sense of separation might result from the lack of common areas where team members can readily have spontaneous conversations or work together on projects. This possibility of isolation emphasizes how crucial it is to strike a balance between professional socialization possibilities and privacy in order to maintain a positive and thriving business culture.
  2. Limited Collaboration: One significant disadvantage of individual offices is that it can prevent smooth communication and teamwork. Personalized offices may restrict spontaneous conversations and hinder information flow, in contrast to an open-plan style that fosters the free flow of ideas. It might be difficult for team members to work together efficiently, which could cause a bottleneck in cooperative efforts. In order to overcome this constraint, a careful design that integrates specific collaborative areas within each person's office layout is needed to promote a balance between independent work and group collaboration.
  3. Cost: Organizations must carefully evaluate the financial implications of designing and maintaining individual offices. Compared to open-plan arrangements, the requirement for extra square footage, customized furnishings and resources for each office may result in higher expenditures. For some businesses, the initial cost of setting up a suitable environment for individual offices and continuing maintenance costs might be quite excessive. It becomes necessary to strike a balance between the need for private workplaces and financial cautiousness, demanding a detailed cost-benefit study prior to implementing individual offices. It's important to understand, though, that the long-term advantages in terms of employee satisfaction and output could offset the early financial concerns.

Furnishing an Individual Office

Efficiently furnishing an individual office is crucial to maximizing both functionality and aesthetics. Here are some tips and tricks:

  1. Ergonomic Furniture: Prioritize ergonomic furniture to ensure the health and well-being of employees. Comfortable chairs, adjustable desks and proper lighting contribute to a conducive work environment.
  2. Personal Touch: Encourage employees to personalize their workspace with items that inspire creativity and motivation. This could include artwork, plants or personal mementos that make the office feel uniquely theirs.
  3. Storage Solutions: Optimize storage space with efficient solutions such as filing cabinets, shelves and organizational tools. A clutter-free workspace fosters focus and productivity.
  4. Flexible Layouts: Design the office layout with flexibility in mind. Consider movable furniture and modular setups that can be adapted to changing work requirements.
  5. Collaborative Zones: Even in individual offices, create designated areas for collaboration. This could be a cozy corner with additional seating or a small meeting table, facilitating teamwork when necessary.


Within the always changing field of office design, individual offices serve as a reminder of how crucial it is to strike a balance between isolation and cooperation. As we discuss the nuances of workplace arrangements, the key lies in personalizing the environment to match the distinct requirements of the individuals working inside it. Organizations may build unique workplaces that promote productivity, creativity and employee happiness by knowing the benefits, drawbacks and best design principles. The path to the perfect workspace is a dynamic one, but organizations may create a productive and happy workplace by being flexible and giving it careful thought.

Contact Upscale, our experts are at your disposal to design your individual offices according to your requirements and preferences!