ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Warning: Open Plan Offices Are Hazardous To Your Health

Posted by Plish on January 13, 2009

Open Office Layout (courtesy of turbosquid.com)

Open Office Layout (courtesy of turbosquid.com)

 There is something appealing in open floor plans.  The soaring ceilings and open layout scream creative collaboration.  While research shows that higher ceilings are more conducive to blue-sky type creativity, this meta-study shows that any collaborative benefits come with a very hefty price.

Ninety percent of the studies reported major negatives of the open layout such as:

  • Increased turnover
  • Higher stress levels
  • Higher blood pressure
  • More interpersonal conflicts
  • Higher levels of insecurity
  • Higher noise levels which leads to:
    • Impaired concentration
    • Lower productivity
  • Easier germ transmission
  • Loss of personal identity
  • Lower job satisfaction

For comparison, it might be worth looking at Mark Twain’s perspectives on his writing hutch here.

 

The Writing Hut of Mark Twain (courtesy of workalicious.org)

The Writing Hut of Mark Twain (courtesy of workalicious.org)

So how might we get collaboration without sacrificing health?

One way would be to place a kitchen or inviting communal area in the office that people would naturally congregate around during the course of a day. 

What would you propose?

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9 Responses to “Warning: Open Plan Offices Are Hazardous To Your Health”

  1. RaiulBaztepo said

    Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  2. Plish said

    Thanks for stopping by! Please let me know if I can provide anything else.

  3. padma sun said

    not exactly the correct way to debate. what about the advantages of open plan?

  4. Plish said

    Thanks for stopping by. What advantages do you see in open plans? In what ways are those advantages worth the health problems, the increased stress, the lower productivity?

  5. [...] A little over a year ago I blogged on optimizing your environment for creative output.  I also wrote about the pros and cons of open office plans. [...]

  6. [...] 3 Posts Warning: Open Plan Offices Are Hazardous To Your HealthIs 'Reverse Innovation' Really Innovation?Looking For Patterns – Tips for Creative Problem [...]

  7. Howdy very cool site!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I
    will bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I am glad to seek out so many useful
    information here within the publish, we want develop extra strategies on this regard, thanks for sharing.
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  8. Petiot Edmond said

    no Matter what some plug in here as Advantages.. they will undeniably be outweighed by these disadvantages as there are directly linked to health.

  9. Plish said

    Thanks for your thoughts!

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