But researchers from Harvard Business School have analysed what really happens in open-plan offices… and it’s not quite what everyone expected.
Researchers followed employees at two companies which were reorganising office space to be open-plan – monitoring how they communicated in person and via email.
They found that in an open-plan office, face-to-face chats drop 70%, while emails go up 20-50%.
The researchers wrote, ‘That can have profound consequences for how – and how productively – work gets done.
‘To our knowledge, no prior study has directly measured the effect on actual interaction that results from removing spatial boundaries to create an open office environment.’