Warning: Open Plan Offices Are Hazardous To Your Health
Posted by Plish on January 13, 2009
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.
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?