Is Open Office Bad For Productivity?

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Open Office is a swag. But is it good for productivity? What are the different viewpoints on this?

Check out this collection.


1. Flexible office spaces offer greater privacy, enhances productivity and retains people

Open offices are now gravitating towards a hybridised format which offers a mix of collaboration for and privacy for focus.

Today's knowledge workers spend more time on jobs hat require focus and less time on collaborating and hence an open noisy office is not suitable for them.

While privacy is important for the employee, it is equally important for the employer as a Gallup poll of 2017 (State of the American Workplace) reports that 42% of the employee are willing to move another job, if it offers greater privacy.

It is estimated that a 200-person company loses $2.1 million annually because of lost focus at work.

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2. The method for effective transition to an open office

While there are still doubts about the effectiveness of an 'open' office, there some ways, which could help the employees to transition from a traditional workspace to an open one.

Organisations should clearly set the purpose for the move to a new 'open' office.

Leaders have to be cheerleaders when moving to a new open office.

Workers should be given freedom to adapt the new workspace according to their needs and style.

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3. The way to fix open office layouts

While accessibility is important, the noise which it produces, counters the benefits of the same.

The most effective way to build open offices is to have high partitions between the two users, between a long shared desks. The partition should be high enough to warrant standing, in case a person wants to communicate with another.

As the height of the barrier drops, the effectiveness of it also decreases.

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4. The impact of ‘open’ work-spaces on (human) interaction

While the traditional workspaces have been made so called 'open', the transition has been done without the basis of any scientific study or empirical evidence.

In first of it's kind study this research paper shows that in reality, face-to-face interaction decreased by a huge 70% , with interactions happening on IM and email only in 'open' settings work-spaces.

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5. Basecamp Founder : Open office is a horrible idea

Different departments have different work environment needs and requirements. An open office mixes them all, and creates a heady cocktail for everyone. Sales guys need to talk on phone, while developers need quiet and concentration. Keeping them together is a really bad idea.

Even when people of same domain are put in the same room, different people have different sensibilities about level of conversation or interruption.

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