Today, about 70% of all US offices are “open concept” — no cubicles, no partitions, no private desks: just rows of tables and computers, with employees sitting shoulder to shoulder.
This type of work environment is championed for encouraging interaction, collaboration, and openness…
But research tells us otherwise
A recent study out of Harvard Business School that tracked an office redesign from a cubicle to open space found that face-to-face interaction actually decreased by 72%, and workers become far less productive.
Over the years, a number of other studies have found that open plans have similarly detrimental effects, including:
- An average 15% decline in productivity
- A 50% increase in the likelihood of getting sick
- An increase in the number of distractions per hour
In fact, as many as 60% of employees who work in open floor plan spaces report being dissatisfied with them.
So why do employers insist on using them?
It’s simple: Open office spaces are cheaper than traditional office spaces. All that’s really needed are a few long tables and some chairs.
They’re also more flexible for startups that anticipate rapid growth (it’s easier to squeeze a few more people at a table than find more floor space for another cubicle).
And lastly, it makes it a hell of a lot easier to pelt Dave from sales with a Nerf gun dart from across the room.
Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox
Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less