What the open office plan brings to the office.
Unlike back when everyone had their own office, today’s modern office is often a large open space with a bunch of desks, tables, and maybe even couches strewn around. Or sometimes, something even crazier.
This “open” design was initially invented to “to facilitate communication and idea flow,” and many companies today deploy them to enhance collaboration, break down hierarchical barriers, reduce emailing and meetings, and make decisions faster — at least that’s what they hope.
The best laid open office plans of mice and men.
The open office plan sounds great… in theory. However, subsequent studies have shown that the open-office approach is actually counter-productive to productivity goals.
Once implemented, employees exhibited worsening job satisfaction, performance, stress levels, and interpersonal relationships. Organizational psychologist, Matthew Davis, found that while “open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission, making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise, they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and [job] satisfaction.”
Other surprising psychological and biological factors come into play, too.
Walls aren’t just a place to hang motivational posters.
“Physical barriers have been closely linked to psychological privacy, and a sense of privacy boosts job performance. Open offices also remove an element of control, which can lead to feelings of helplessness.”
In a recent study, researchers found that “as the number of people working in a single room went up, the number of employees who took sick leave increased… an average of 62% more.” Other studies linked open-plan offices to increased stress and high blood pressure.
So the theoretical upsides of the open-office — free exchange of information, knowledge-sharing, increased collaboration, creativity, and innovation — often come at the expense of mental focus, thoughtfulness, and smart decision-making. Those aren’t exactly the results most businesses are after.
So what’s the solution? Leave your office the way it is and get an Enterprise Social Network. (Might we suggest tibbr?)
Why tibbr is better than an open office plan.
tibbr facilitates all the positive aspects of the open-office plan — it improves collaboration, increases productivity, and encourages innovation — all without any of the negatives. Better yet, tibbr extends the positive aspects across offices, oceans, and time-zones, as well.
So why renovate your whole office when you can more quickly and easily deploy tibbr? To experience all the benefits of tibbr first-hand, sign up for a free trial here.