Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by n1 on Wednesday December 31 2014, @01:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the can't-hear-myself-think dept.

Lindsey Kaufman writes in the Washington Post that despite its obvious problems, the open-office model has continued to encroach on workers across the country with about 70 percent of US. offices having no or low partitions. Silcon Valley has led the way with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg enlisting famed architect Frank Gehry to design the largest open floor plan in the world, housing nearly 3,000 engineers with a single room, stretching 10 acres, where everyone will sit in the open with moveable furniture. Michael Bloomberg was an early adopter of the open-space trend, saying it promoted transparency and fairness. Bosses love the ability to keep a closer eye on their employees, ensuring clandestine porn-watching, constant social media-browsing and unlimited personal cellphone use isn’t occupying billing hours. But according to Kaufman employers are getting a false sense of improved productivity with a 2013 study showing that many workers in open offices are frustrated by distractions that lead to poorer work performance. Nearly half of the surveyed workers in open offices said the lack of sound privacy was a significant problem for them and more than 30 percent complained about the lack of visual privacy. The New Yorker, in a review of research on this nouveau workplace design, determined that the benefits in building camaraderie simply mask the negative effects on work performance. While employees feel like they’re part of a laid-back, innovative enterprise, the environment ultimately damages workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction says Kaufman. "Though multitasking millennials seem to be more open to distraction as a workplace norm, the wholehearted embrace of open offices may be ingraining a cycle of under-performance in their generation," writes Maria Konnikova. "They enjoy, build, and proselytize for open offices, but may also suffer the most from them in the long run."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 1) by Nuke on Wednesday December 31 2014, @08:38PM

    by Nuke (3162) on Wednesday December 31 2014, @08:38PM (#130616)

    Always been the norm in the UK? Rubbish. I am there and have worked in quite few places, and really it's only recent years that large open offices have become a fad. Typically, following WW2 until the 80's or later, many public service offices used the former hospitals built for air-raid casualties. A "ward" accommodated only about 8 workers with a team leader or computer terminal in the former matron's office. Otherwise I've worked in 3-4 person offices till recently.

    Managers like large open offices because they can keep an eye on skiving. I hate them, and won't get used to them. Depends on your personality. Some people, generally arts types, need others making a din around them for motivation. I don't; I need quiet for motivation.

  • (Score: 2) by elf on Thursday January 01 2015, @07:26AM

    by elf (64) on Thursday January 01 2015, @07:26AM (#130716)

    By open plan I was more talking about there not being partitions separating every single person, I understand that not every room is large but a small room can still be open plan.

    I am obviously in the minority here, but I quite like the open office feel. Where I work there is a big open room with IT people in, I can interact with my colleges quite easily, people don't spy on other people or comment what's on their screen where I work, people are generally more sociable with each other which makes it more of a fun place to work in and it also makes it easier to make the hard decisions when they need to be made.

    I understand this isn't for everyone but the headline makes it sounds like its for no one and that the end of the world is close.

    • (Score: 2) by ticho on Thursday January 01 2015, @03:15PM

      by ticho (89) on Thursday January 01 2015, @03:15PM (#130779) Homepage Journal

      Yes, open plan can work in some cases. Especially if only people around you are members of your team, and do similar work. In such cases, it can even be beneficial in that you are always informed about everything that goes on, or can bounce your ideas off of someone.