Open-plan offices ‘actually make you miserable and distracted’

Open-plan offices and hot-desking were supposed to revolutionise the office – making us all more sociable and helping us to collaborate.

But actually, open plan offices do the opposite.

A new study found that staff working in ‘open’ environments are distracted, irriatated, and actually find it harder to have conversations with others.

Researchers from the CTF, Service Research Centre at Karlstad University in Sweden found that, on average, employees in ‘open plan’ offices are disrupted every three minutes.

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The researchers analysed the satisfaction levels of workers relative to the type of office they worked in – and how many others they shared it with.

They found that employees in small- and medium-sized open plan offices were less satisfied with their jobs.

Lead author Dr Tobias Otterbring said, ‘The results show a negative relationship between the number of co-workers sharing an office and employees’ job satisfaction.’

‘The open plan offices may have short-term financial benefits, but these benefits may be substantially lower than the costs associated with decreased job satisfaction and well-being.

‘Therefore, decision-makers should consider the impact of a given office type on employees rather than focusing solely on cost-effective office layout, flexibility, and productivity,’

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