Give Your Inner Misanthrope a Hug
Large open-plan offices do not improve staff communication, morale or productivity, a study has found.
Such offices have become common because of the economic benefits – more workers can be fitted into a smaller space – and because they are widely believed to encourage communication and camaraderie.
But after carrying out a study of 42,000 US office workers in 303 buildings the researchers concluded that open-plan layouts are disruptive due to ‘uncontrollable noise and loss of privacy’ and were ‘clearly outperformed’ by enclosed private offices.The team, from Sydney University, said the idea that ‘open-plan improves morale and productivity appears to have no basis in the research literature’, and their results showed that such offices did not ‘enhance communication between colleagues’ either.
'Our results categorically contradict the industry-accepted wisdom that open-plan layout enhances communication between colleagues and improves occupants' overall work environmental satisfaction,' the team concluded.