As we all know, the nature of today’s office is changing rapidly with the advent of open office plans. “Open offices were generally designed for higher efficiency and collaboration” according to a recent Forbes.com article, Is This The Future Of Open Office Space?, by Keith Flamer.
According to Flamer, The Office, starring Steve Carell, explored the absurd extremes of open-office corporate culture at fictional Dunder Mifflin. During the show’s run from 2005-2013, open concept was all the rage. On the sitcom, the open-plan design was essentially the main character—the catalyst for office chaos.
Open offices were generally designed for higher efficiency and collaboration while allowing micromanaging bosses like Carell’s “Michael Scott” to spy on unmotivated slackers like Jim Halpert and brown-nosing ninnies like Dwight Shrute. Inevitably, coworker interruptions, noisy personal calls, public dramas, and privacy intrusions dominated the hit sitcom’s work day—exaggerated scenarios of the real corporate world.
Or were they? Recent studies show that open-floor workspaces may not increase efficiency and productivity as much as advertised. In fact, they may have a disruptive effect on office morale. If The Office is a barometer, this is no surprise (did they ever get work done?).
Today, research suggests open-office distractions sabotage employee focus, decreasing productivity anywhere from 15% to 28%. If that doesn’t make the suits queasy, this will—employees are also twice as likely to get sick these in open environments. Yet, open-plan design still represents 70% of all U.S. offices.
Silicon Valley was among the first to embrace sleek, open-office workspaces as the norm, followed by advertising and media conglomerates like Bloomberg, and eventually cable news networks who still use desk jockeys as “breaking news” background wallpaper on our TV screens.
Open offices are still the standard but blowback on this design style is vociferous. According to reports, some Apple employees (engineers and developers included) are so utterly turned off by the less-private, open-pod interiors inside the tech giant’s new $5 billion headquarters (Apple Park, designed by Foster + Partners), they may head for the exits—even before the paint dries. To read the full article more CLICK HERE
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