IELTS Writing Recent Actual Test in March 2017 & Sample Answers

IELTS Writing Task 2 Topic:

Nowadays, some buildings such as offices have open-space design instead of separate rooms. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?




– Staff Advantages

A lack of walls or other physical barriers in offices makes it easier for employees to interact with each other on a regular basis. The constant intermingling not only generates a sense of camaraderie among personnel, it also enhances the flow of information and teamwork. Colleagues can turn to each other for advice or assistance without having to knock on doors or schedule a formal meeting. Interactions in an open-plan office space generally are more frequent and informal than in closed environments where everyone has a separate office space.

– Business Advantages

The increased collaboration resulting from an open-plan work space can lead to business innovation and advancement. At the same time, an open-plan layout can benefit the business economically by reducing costs tied to construction, utilities and office equipment. For example, fewer walls mean less time and materials required to create the office space. Having a single work space also may reduce heating/cooling and electricity expenses thanks to improved flow of air and light. Businesses can save on equipment investment as well, since communal spaces promote shared use of resources, such as printers, copiers and staplers. An open-plan space also provides greater flexibility to accommodate evolving personnel needs.


– Staff Disadvantages

On the downside, the high level of everyday interaction that takes place in an undivided work space may lead to noise and distractions that make it difficult for employees to focus on their work and conduct business. Lack of privacy is another potential problem with open-plan office spaces, where computer screens are easily visible by those walking by and telephone conversations are likely to be overheard. Open-plan layouts also facilitate the spread of disease, so if a colleague comes to work with a cold, it can affect the health of the entire staff.

– Business Disadvantages

Most of the factors that are disadvantages for personnel also are detrimental to the business as a whole. For example, the distractions caused by frequent interactions among staff members and high levels of noise can result in decreased productivity. Business output also may be reduced by the higher rate of absenteeism associated with open-plan environments in which disease spreads more easily. In addition, the lack of privacy inherent in open-plan designs may give rise to legal or ethical issues stemming from compromised confidentiality in regard to clients or colleagues.

 Ideas from

Useful Vocabulary & Expressions

Interact with (verb) to converse with and exchange ideas with someone

on a regular basis (phrase) regularly

Intermingle (verb) if people intermingle, they spend time together and get to know each other

Camaraderie (noun) friendship and trust between people in a group

Open-plan (adj) an open-plan office, house, flat etc has few walls and a lot of open space

Communal (adj) owned or used by everyone in a group

Facilitate (verb) to make it possible or easier for something to happen

Detrimental to (adj) harmful to something/someone

As a whole (phrase) in general

Absenteeism (noun) the habit of not being at school or work when you should be, usually without a good reason

Give a rise to something (phrase)

Stem from something (verb)  to be caused by something

Confidentiality (noun) a situation in which important information must be kept secret

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