There was a time when open plan offices had taken the world office design by a storm and it was thought that openness and collaboration would increase communication and efficiency of the employees. Almost all the offices started getting rid of cubicles that they had in order to make way for more collaborative work places and improve team spirit and promote teamwork among the employees.
However, it was soon realised that employees were communicating less face to face and more through email and other means of digital communication after the offices adopted open plan designs. According to a study conducted in top most companies which had adopted the open plan office systems, the email volumes among employees jumped 56 percent after the redesign from so called closed and the ‘cublicled’ office systems. There was marked decreases in face to face interactions among the employees. They were interacting far less, according to the study.
Less Interaction In Open Plan Offices
The study has pointed out to the fact that open plan offices can result in less collaboration and interaction among the employees. Another important finding of the study has been the change in behaviour of the employees while in office. They study noted that employees tended to look busy more than they actually were. That eroded their concentration levels while in office as they thought that they are constantly being watched and they must rather look busy. This negatively impacted the productivity for some of the employees.
The lack of concentration levels and the tendency to look busy was fairly high when they thought he boss was watching them. The time durations when the boss was present right in between the employees and the employees thought the boss was watching them was marked with lower output by the employees. When the boss moved away, there was improvement in the total output by the employees.
Human Resource Managers Are Getting Selective About Office Designs
Hence it was concluded that open plan offices that had become a rage among human resource managers for office designs and also for real estate developers was not a bright idea and hence cubicles are finding their way back in office architecture in many cases. However, there are advantages of open plan offices also. They can still infuse creativity which can be transferred from one employee to another. Hence, the human resource managers are now more careful as where to where they opt for cubicles and where they still go for open plan spaces.