Organisational psychologist Adam Grant recently posted an article that claimed open plan offices are actually negative. It made me think about my own experiences in open plan offices – on the face of it they look cool don’t they? Everyone out there tapping away, leaning back on chairs to chat to each other and making fairly public calls… but are they actually beneficial, or do they just look great in corporate photographs?
These kinds of offices definitely tap into that “always on” mentality, which as we know can be problematic. People feel like they have access to you all the time if they’re sat looking right at you.
So, some stats. It’s been shown that open plan offices cause 27% more sick days. Now, that could be for mental health reasons, or the literal germs flying around open plan set-ups. There is also 14% lower cognitive performance. And now here’s a surprising one. Open plan offices cause 70% less face to face interactions. That might sound like a mistake, but think about how many people sit there and plug headphones in to escape the noise around them. And when you’re sat with the same people all day every day, the last thing you want to do is actually engage with them (and particularly when everyone else can hear what you’re saying).
Adam Grant is a fan of doors. Not, like, into doors in a weird way. But offices with doors. Boundaries.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to know. Hit me up with your opinion of whether these types of offices are a win or not for you.