Somewhere along the line, someone thought that the concept of an open office was a good one. Open office plans have since been proved to lower productivity and decrease employee collaboration, but they also aren’t helpful when it comes to a physically healthy (or even mentally healthy!) workplace.
Bad Bosses Can No Longer Be Escaped
When you demolish walls, you may think that you are creating an environment where people can better reach out to one another. However, that also means quite a few things. Everyone can hear everything that goes on in the office, and suddenly bad bosses are impossible to get away from. Even a small physical separation like a cubicle between a toxic or hostile boss and an employee can be helpful and allow an employee to “take a breath”.
The Cough Felt Round the Office
It’s pretty much a no-brainer to know that when you have a space that is wide and open, it’s impossible to duck and dodge germs. All it takes is one employee to come in while they are sick, hack their brains out over their computer or even sneeze, and then suddenly all of your workforce is infected.
Introvert No More
While many people might think that open office plans can help drive employee collaboration, the truth is this concept was probably invented by an extrovert. With about 50% of the population identifying as introverted, suddenly having all of your loud, obnoxious, extroverted colleagues in the open and able to make quick and easy eye contact with you is quite overwhelming. Open office plans can allow for an increase in anxiety and even panic attacks, especially in introverts.
Brain damage is no laughing matter. Open office plans can cause employees to constantly refocus and redirect their energies and efforts onto other things, due to the fact that other employees and what they are doing are so in-your-face. While multitasking and the ability to multitask is often seen as a plus, frequent multitasking can actually cause a reduction in grey matter in the brain, according to Psychology Today.
While there are many more reasons that open office plans aren’t as good as they are touted to be, these are the major ones. Thinking about taking down walls in your office? Maybe you shouldn’t. Already wall-less? Perhaps you should consider putting up barriers and walls and creating cubicles to help, rather than harm, your employees.