Zoom image | View original size
Workplace design has undergone a radical transformation in the last several decades, with approximately seventy percent of today’s modern offices now converted to open plans. However, despite growing concerns over decreases in worker productivity and employee satisfaction, the open office revolution shows no sign of slowing down. The open office model has proliferated without regard for natural differences in workplace culture, leading to disastrous results when employees are forced into an office that works against their own interests. If we are to make offices more effective, we must acknowledge that ultimately, design comes out of adapting individual needs for a specific purpose and at best, can create inviting spaces that reflect a company’s own ethos. The concept of the open plan had noble beginnings in architecture and promised natural light, flexible space, and freedom from oppressive walls and rooms. Many companies have adopted open office plans in order to promote the values this layout supposedly represents such as transparency, collaboration, innovation, and even egalitarian visions where the CEO shares a desk alongside his employees. But despite all of their supposed benefits, a number of studies have revealed the downsides to open plan offices. In one such study, organizational psychologist Matthew Davis found that “though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission, making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise, they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction.” Another study found even more extreme repercussions of the typology, revealing that as the number of employees working in a single room increased, employee attendance correspondingly decreased with those working in fully open offices out sixty-two percent more than those in single offices. [1] View more View full description
Share Share