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Privacy Issue in an Open Concept Office Environment

November 26, 2019

Open-concept office has been the trend for the last decade. Most companies adopted open-concept office and cram a bunch of employees with similar or complementary skills into one place. This is to encourage interaction and such office plan usually cost lesser than traditional layouts.

In this article, we’ll discuss some major problematic issues that come with the open-concept office environment. 

5 Issues of an Open Concept Office Environment

Decrease Productivity

Contrary to popular belief, open offices do not boost productivity or increase collaboration. A study conducted by Exeter University shows that open office creates a 15% reduction in productivity. In an open office plan, distractions are quite common. You are likely to be disturbed every three minutes which significantly hinders your ability to focus and perform tasks accurately and quickly.

Varied Work Requires Varied Space

There are different types of meetings that happen in the workplace. Convergent meetings in which ideas are analyzed and decisions are made, as well as divergent meetings, where people with different skills gather to generate ideas, are best done in spaces that support those particular types of thinking. When companies implement an open office layout, they forget to design proper rooms for convergent meetings.

Loss of Office Privacy

People not only expect privacy in their private lives – they want it at the office as well. If two of your colleagues are discussing some topic, you cannot ask them to find another place just because you want some quiet time. To collaborate more effectively, you need less ‘we’ time and more ‘me’ time which becomes quite difficult in an open environment.  Thus, it is important to strike a balance between both individual and group spaces to create a focused and collaborative environment.

Lead to More Sick Days

Open office layouts are unhealthier. People who work in an open-plan office had a deterioration in their perceived health and performance, and more absences due to illness. According to The New Yorker research, offices with open layout can expect employees to take 62% more sick leaves. Excessive noise raises blood pressure and stimulates the nervous system to release stress hormones. It is also a major factor in the unimpeded flow of airborne germs.

Create Vast Political Turmoil

In an open-plan environment, there are always a handful of private offices for the employees at a senior position. This leads to cutthroat completion between employees to get a “real office” thus creating wounded egos and an unhealthy political environment. Besides that, in an open-plan office, you can never truly put up a physical barrier between you and a toxic coworker.  You may feel vulnerable and exposed. This effects your ability to focus as well as your health especially when you are working with a difficult person. 

If any of the above is bothering you, talk to us. We may have the right solution for you.