Touted as the “cure” to row after row of soul-sucking cubicles, open office spaces promised collaboration, innovation, increased productivity and so much more.
With their cost-efficient design, clean look and supposed productivity boost, open offices sounded like the perfect setup…until they didn’t.
A study done in 2018 by Harvard Business School discovered that face-to-face interaction between coworkers decreased by 70 percent when employees moved from a closed workspace to an open office environment. Exactly the opposite of what they’re supposed to do!
For the most part, employees are less happy in open office spaces where distraction and lack of privacy make working difficult. And employee dissatisfaction means decreased productivity and higher turnover. Another 2018 study found that approximately 13 percent of office employees considered quitting their job because of this office layout.
Let’s talk about some of the most common open office problems and what you can do to mitigate them.
1. Loud Noise With No Escape
It’s no surprise that corralling dozens of employees in the same spaces is going to create noise. Even the necessary, everyday office functions like collaborating with a coworker on a project, printing documents or even simply typing can contribute to the level of noise pollution in an office.