The open office concept has caught on with many of today’s leading entrepreneurs. Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have all adopted the open office environment where there are no walls separating employees from one another, no physical communication barriers, and virtually no limits when you want to see what your employees are doing at any time of the work day. While this concept is clearly designed to promote openness, community, and more accountability in the office, a vast number of businesses who have implemented the open office concept are wishing this theory hadn’t been put into practice.[wpob id=”2″]
According to reactions from dozens of large-scale companies, the consequences of implementing an open office are negating the benefits immeasurably for three key reasons:
1. Lack of privacy. One major reason for the rise in open offices is employers’ desire to increase transparency and eliminate wasted billing hours in the workplace. The problem with implementing a “no barriers” environment is that employees often feel more pressured and less comfortable doing their work under the eyes of 15 or 20 different people every hour, increasing the tension in the work environment and making them more likely to put up personal or social barriers of their own.
2. Over-stimulation. With everything – literally everything – happening around working people at all hours of the workday, employees are far less likely to accomplish substantial amounts of work due to the abundance of stimulation around them. Many employees within open office environments complain about constant noise from co-worker conversations, electronics, loud music, and various other disruptions to their work. When concentration is consistently being bombarded, the effects on productivity are self-explanatory.
3. Higher stress levels. The accumulation of tension, over-stimulation, and the inability to take a break from an often chaotic environment can lead to high blood pressure and agitation in no time flat, and it’s a no-brainer that increased stress levels bring dire consequences for businesses. In fact, many studies report that businesses that have adopted the open concept experience alarmingly higher employee turnover rates than businesses that allow their employees more private space. Each and everyone of us has a different “Natural Productivity Style” and what works for one does not work for all. Open office space is a high conflict to most “Natural Productivity Styles”.
The bottom line on open office spaces is this: the evidence against this practice has negated the intended benefits in the eyes of the majority of business owners who have put it into practice. If you’re considering an open office setting for your business, educate yourself on the potential downfalls of implementing this idea before taking action. Although proponents of this work style argue that it promotes synergy and community and prevents slacking and secrecy in the workplace, the open office may be a concept more workable in theory than in practice.