Open plan offices have been extremely popular, but they may not be as fantastic as some people think. While they may be helping managers save money, and some people (Like Mark Zuckerberg) think they make people more engaging and productive, the facts don’t always favor open plans over cubicles. Does your office have an open floor plan? This article from Quartz has some interesting stats on open plans and some reasons why they may not be as good for us as we thought. Below is an excerpt – Check out the whole story on their website, here.
Open-plan offices make employees less productive, less happy, and more likely to get sick
Anna Codrea‑Rado | QUARTZ MEDIA
Nearly three quarters of Americans work in open-plan offices
According to the International Management Facility Association, 70% of American employees work in open-plan offices.
The world’s largest open-plan office
Mark Zuckerberg hired Frank Gehry to design Facebook’s office expansion in Menlo Park in California. Once completed—its planning application has been approved and work is set to start imminently—the social network’s new digs will be the world’s largest open-plan office.
Workers in open-plan offices get sick more often
Workers who share an office take more sick days than those who work in their own closed spaces. A study in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health found that open office setups reported 62% more sick days on average than one-occupant layouts. It was the first national population study conducted in Denmark to find such a linkage. One suggested explanation, unsurprisingly, was that viruses and bacteria spread more easily in open offices. Another was that open offices are more stressful to work in because of the lack of privacy, and that the stress makes sickness more likely.
Workers don’t like noise
Researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University wanted to study which aspects of office design had the biggest impact on workers’ productivity. CK Mak and YP Lui questioned 259 office workers about the importance of sound, temperature, office layout, air quality and lighting for productivity; they found that sound and temperature mattered the most. The most irritating noises were conversations, ringing phones and machines.
Older workers really don’t like noise
Mak and Lui also found that the environment mattered least to the younger participants in their study. Those over 45 were more sensitive to it, and factors like noise and temperature had a bigger effect on their productivity.
Open-plan offices are less productive