The open office is now the most common office layout across the UK and the USA. So, does the open office make for a more collaborative and egalitarian workplace? Or is the open office a nightmare of noise and discomfort for employees?
So, does the open office increase or decrease productivity?
The jury is still out on whether or not the open office improves or inhibit productivity. The downsides are the noise levels, the potential for distractions, lack of privacy and spreading of germs. The argument for the open office hails its potential for employees to form stronger bonds with one another, and improved communication and collaboration between employees.
Open offices are also generally more cost-effective to construct and maintain. They also provide a more flexible space, allowing for desks and other furniture and equipment to be added, removed and moved as necessary.
Benefits aside, much research now points to the negative impact that office distractions in an open office environment have on productivity. A 2018 study by Harvard Business School found that open plan offices actually encourage less face-to-face collaboration. They report a 67% increase in email communication between colleagues (probably because they don’t want to disturb one another). Another study found that 3-5 hours of productive time are lost every day to unwanted, unneeded and unproductive interruptions.
This infographic from Smarter Business provides some stats to help you make your own decision, then suggests ways to keep your focus and survive in the open office.
Interested in 5 Top Tips for Surviving the Open Office? Check out the infographic: