Open offices were supposed to liberate us from cubicle-land. In the 1960s, the German design group Quickborner decided that grouping desks together would increase efficiency and de-emphasize status. They dubbed it Bürolandschaft, or “office landscape.” Open plans are also meant to enhance collaboration: Perhaps overhearing your colleague’s every mutter will lead to some serendipitous insights. (“Eureka! Steve, too, can’t get Twitter to load.”)
But we’ve long since entered the backlash phase. “A cost-effective panopticon,”sneered one commenter on the tech site Y Combinator. When the organizational psychologist Matthew Davis reviewed various types of office plans in 2011, as Maria Konnikova wrote for the New Yorker, “He found that, though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission … they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction.” A 2008 meta-analysis in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Health Management found that open plans are associated with conflict, high blood pressure,
Read the whole story: The Atlantic
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