Many business owners, employers, and managers have accepted open-plan systems
because they believe that these promote better communication in the office. In addition,
these systems help them reduce building costs. In this regard, most owners look at the
good side of it and neglect the consequences to their workers.
Do Open-plan Systems Really Work?
An article published by the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that 9 out of 10 offices in
Australia are open plan. Many people think that it's the most effective layout due to its
popularity, but office workers say otherwise. Managers see open plan offices as a way to
save money and improve collaboration, but many say that makes for a noisy and
distracting atmosphere in the office. There's the lack of privacy, as well.
A study by researchers from Stockholm
University, which was published in the latest
edition of Ergonomics, monitored 2,000
workers to find out the truth behind open-
plan office spaces. According to them,
employees in open-plan spaces are likely to
take more days off. The risks are higher in
shared workplaces because of infection and
exposure to environmental stress, like noise.
Another Swedish research shows that open-
plan workers have higher blood pressure and
stress levels because they struggle more due
to the lack of privacy.
What System Should Offices Follow?
The effectiveness of an open-plan system depends on the type of work. It's true that
collaboration is necessary, but it's best to take note of how employees want to work.
People have different preferences, which can affect their working pace. One employee
might be good at ignoring their surroundings, while others can be sensitive.
If employees need a quiet environment to concentrate on their tasks, then it's best to
let them have their own office. It doesn't have to be spacious, though. Many
employees find partitions and other enclosed spaces acceptable. If they can work in
peace, their productivity can increase.
Open-plan spaces might or might not be detrimental to the business's productivity.
Nonetheless, it's best to know what working conditions employees are comfortable with to
motivate them to work.