Open office trend is killing the workplace


With the emergence of a million startups in today’s era, the modern of trend of open office plans has also seeped in. The modern entrepreneurs believe that boundary less workplaces promote better collaboration, communication and flow of ideas among the co-workers. These offices provide better opportunities for bosses who love to keep an eye on their employees ensuring that time is not being wasted on social media checkups or personal phone calls.

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Now in US, there are 70% of the offices that have adopted the open-plan and have no or extremely low partitions in the working areas. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hired a famous architect in order to design an open-plan office that could incorporate nearly 3,000 engineers. Michael Bloomberg, a famous business man became the early adopter of open-space trend to promote transparency and fairness in his office. All big tech giants such as Google, eBay, American Express, and Yahoo adopted the open-space trend for their working areas.

These open-space plans are idyllic for maximizing the use of space while keeping expenses to a minimum level. But this new trend has given a false illusion to employers about improved productivity of workers.

Productivity needs WALLS:

According to a research that was carried out in 2013, open office plans are more a bane than a boon. Workers are found to be more frustrated and uncomfortable while working in open space offices. They have to deal with so many distractions at one time. Sitting on a big table with 12 co-workers does make everyone feel that they are a part of laid-back and innovative enterprise but the truth is that this system has adverse impacts on the attention spans and creative thinking of the workers.

The absence of walls makes workers prone to absorb all kinds of distractions. Isolated workplaces are helpful in enhancing the creative thinking process which promotes productivity. On the other hand in open-space offices, workers indulge in useless conversation with co-workers which damages their attention spans, creative thinking, productivity, as well as satisfaction.

Distraction is not the only reason for reducing the work efficiency of workers, other factors such as loudness is also a big factor. In open-space, everyone speaks to his/her own volume which becomes really irritating for most of the workers who actually want to concentrate on their work.

Workers can talk with colleagues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. whereas in private offices they get to talk only during the break. Also at open plan offices, a worker’s health is always at risk. Viral flu’s can catch up from one worker to another and can get all the workers sick causing an extreme loss in work productivity due to absence of a large number of people at the same time.

If companies want to make open-space offices an ideal place to work then they will have to make certain rules. Interactions should be limited and the use of headphones should be promoted. Headphones by one worker should be a sign for others not to speak to him/her during working hours and send an email instead. Breaks should be limited and work should be asked to get completed before the given deadline.

The growing number of startups should also promote the trend of employees working from home. Work from home is the best solution for dealing with the productivity issues. It has very few distractions and the responsibility of completing the work forces a worker to concentrate on work rather than indulging in long conversation and chitchats.

Via: The Washington Post

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Written by Hisham Sarwar

That is all you ever need to know about me but let me warn you, freelancing for me is a journey, certainly not a destination :)