A new Harvard study says open plan workspaces aren’t actually conducive to collaboration – and they are in fact, well, terrible. The study, titled 'The impact of the open workspace on human collaboration’, is authored by two Harvard academics who tracked an office redesign from a cubicle to open space and found face-to-face interaction actually decreased by 72 per cent, with workers becoming far less productive.
Today, about 70 per cent of all US offices are “open concept” — no cubicles, no partitions, no private desks: just rows of tables and computers, with employees sitting shoulder to shoulder. This type of work environment has been championed for encouraging interaction, collaboration, and openness. But over the years, there have been a number of studies which have found open plan offices have detrimental effects, including an average 15 per decline in productivity, a 50 per cent increase in the likelihood of getting sick, and an increase in the number of distractions per hour. As many as 60 per cent of employees who work in open plan spaces report being dissatisfied with them.