That’s YOUR Chunk of Open Office Space, This is MINE…
Posted by Plish on September 16, 2011
Now it appears that open office spaces, intended to foster interaction, instead foster territorial behaviours that undermine collaboration.
Professor of Strategic Management, Stephen Cummings, who led the study said,
“The intent of taking away dividing walls and doors is usually to improve creativity and performance by fostering spontaneous fun, interaction and sharing…However, we found evidence that it can lead to attempts by employees to re-create spatial and social structures and boundaries, actually undermining the behaviours an organisation is trying to encourage.
…most teams marked out their territory with posters, slogans and personal items, even moving furniture to create their own personalised space, which seemed to put other teams off moving into that space. Employees also tended to use the activity rooms in their established team groups at separate times rather than mingling with other teams.”
He also mentioned that people felt that they lacked privacy and hence they had to be more rigid in their behaviours and hence less innovative.
So what to do? Well the obvious step is to create a mix of open and private space, understand what your people are like, and build an environment that plays to individual strengths, needs and personalities. “One size fits all,” isn’t the way to an innovative culture.