It’s time to stop the insanity. Here’s why open-plan offices are a complete failure, and why you’ll benefit from getting rid of them.
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If you’re thinking about making the leap, though, you might want to think again, because despite their popularity, open-plan offices create huge problems.
And if you’re stuck in an open-plan office, you might consider finding more traditional digs, because, well, here’s the straight skinny:
1. They decrease productivity.
Contrary to popular belief, open offices don’t increase collaboration or make people more productive. An Exeter University study showed they create a 32 percent drop in “workers’ well-being” and 15 percent reduction in productivity.
2. They make employees miserable.
A study of 10,000 workers funded by office furniture giant Steelcase revealed that “95 percent said working privately was important to them, but only 41 percent said they could do so, and 31 percent had to leave the office to get work completed.”
3. They create time-consuming distractions.
Office workers lose an average of 86 minutes per day due to distractions associated with open-plan offices. As a result, many employees are “unmotivated, unproductive, and overly stressed,” according to the study funded by Steelcase.
4. They make employees sick.
A study at Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation found that working in environments without offices “caus[es] high levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure, and a high staff turnover.”
5. They result in more sick days.
Not surprisingly, employees in open-plan offices take more sick days. According to The New Yorker, companies with open-plan offices can expect employees to take a whopping 62 percent more sick leave.
6. They communicate a lack of trust.
People aren’t stupid. They know that behind the hip-sounding biz-blab about “collaborative work areas” lies the perennial desire of the paranoid, insecure micro-manager to peer over every worker’s shoulder at a moment’s notice.
7. They create vast political turmoil.
In open-plan environments, there are always a handful of private offices for the bigwigs. Because everyone hates the open plan, the struggle over who gets a “real office” is cutthroat, creating unnecessary bad blood and wounded egos.
8. They blunt your highly-paid brainpower.
According to one study, “senior engineers, bankers, and people working in financial services…found the open-plan environment challenging, particularly when focusing on complex tasks like analyzing figures or working on documents.”
9. They cost MORE than private offices.
Here’s the real kicker. As I pointed out in a recent post on LinkedIn, open-plan offices are so incredibly destructive to productivity that they’re a net huge loss, even in areas where office space is pricey.