Open Office Designs Can Be Stressful And Disruptive

 by Breanna Sheldon

Efforts to increase workplace productivity have changed office design dramatically in the last twenty years.  In up to 70% of offices, open plan office designs have replaced the cubicles of yesteryear.  Desk areas are often shared. Co-working lounges with off-beat furniture are supposed to foster collaboration and productivity.   While open-plan office designs may reduce clutter and make conversation easier, they don’t necessarily increase workplace productivity.

Studies have shown that such office design “improvements” have actually reduced productivity. A leading furniture manufacturer reported85% of employees are dissatisfied with the level of privacy in the workplace. Instead of collaborating, employees wear headphones all day and take work home to get things done.  Open office designs where everyone can see and hear each other can be extremely stressful and disruptive.

For maximum productivity, good office interior design must compromise. Too much open space increases distractions. “Cubicle Farms” designs can be isolating and depressing.  Pay attention to these interior design elements to encourage employee productivity and engagement.

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