Open plan spaces are a popular choice for office workers. But new research suggests this layout could actually be reducing your productivity by an astounding 66%. With constant noises, interruptions and conversations there is never a quiet moment in an open office – which is precisely the problem.

In the third instalment of our 5-part series discussing productivity enemies at work, we’ll be discussing why open plans offices may be a thing of the past.

The rise of the open office

Since the 1950s open plan offices have been all the rage, with everyone from accountants to creative agencies jumping on the bandwagon. Fast forward to the 21st century and a whopping 70% of companies now have an open floor plan.

The main aim of the open office is to remove physical barriers like walls, doors and partitions. In doing so, managers and business owners hope to facilitate community, connectivity and collaboration.

In some offices, this may be the case, especially for creative roles which require teamwork and collaboration. But what happens when the very thing that should be promoting productivity is actually doing the opposite?

Decreased productivity

Recent studies have highlighted that office workers are 66% less productive within an open office. With a constant stream of chatter and disruptive noises, workers find it hard to concentrate and ultimately produce less throughout the day.

That’s because sound not only affects our cognitive abilities, but also our behaviour and our mood. Employees are less likely to feel motivated to work when they are distracted and not feeling creatively fulfilled.

Higher levels of stress

Open plan offices are also said to cause high levels of stress. When employees are under this amount pressure it can lead to ill health, which can result in sickness from work.

It is important to ensure your employees are working in an environment that supports creative thinking, job satisfaction and productivity. This not only lets your business prosper, but could also improve employee well-being.

Less cohesion

Although open place offices are valued for their collaborative aspect, new research shows that face-to-face interaction has decreased by 70% with this layout.

Removing physical divides doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, as people find it harder to work cohesively. Instead, the “open architecture appeared to trigger a natural human response to socially withdraw from officemates.”

Lack of privacy and control

Removing barriers, walls and private spaces can also leave employees with a feeling of being constantly watched. Naturally, this leaves them feeling more stressed and almost helpless that they can’t find any privacy for downtime in the workplace.

This lack of control can also have a wider effect on team cohesion, as employees feel like they are always under evaluation meaning. They may be constantly worried, rather than concentrating on effective team building.

Find the perfect office space

When searching for the perfect productive office, it’s important to find the best fit for your business. Anvic can help, with a selection of exceptional modern office spaces across Burnley and Manchester. Choose from various sizes and layouts of serviced offices and meetings rooms to find your ideal office space. Use our online contact form to get the ball rolling.