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The downside of open office spaces

Munira Rangwala
6th Mar 2017
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A lot of startups across the world are embracing the open office plan. Following their cue, quite a few multinational corporations have also transformed their office spaces to integrate this plan. But what exactly is an open office plan? Let us break it down for you. There are no distinct rooms of fully enclosed spaces in an open plan office layout. Instead, work stations are positioned together with a small screen or no screen at all between co-workers. The openness may improve communication between colleagues, but the negatives override the positives when it comes to this kind of work space. Read on to find out why open offices are a bane rather than a boon:

Image : shutterstock

Image : shutterstock

Drop in productivity levels

Beating the purpose of why open office plans were started in the first place, it has been proven that this kind of an office layout leads to a decrease in productivity as employees cannot concentrate with so much distraction around them.

Too much commotion

Open office spaces are fun till you have to complete a task that requires your full concentration. With colleagues chatting all around you and music playing somewhere in the background, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on the job at hand.

Irritability

Every employee likes to complete his day's tasks as fast as he can and leave for home. However, the open office plan allows co-workers to simply swivel their chair in your direction and start a conversation with you. This proves to be a hindrance when all you want to do is finish your work. But you also can't abruptly end a conversation or avoid one completely because that would seem rude.

Political turmoil

Even in open office plans, there are a few private offices reserved for the bigwigs. By the end, when everyone gets frustrated with the openness, the politics to capture the private offices become endless. This kind of unnecessary cut-throat competition can result in bad blood between employees in the long run.

Attrition

Working in an environment without cubicles and proper offices can result in high levels of conflict and stress. Due to this, employees tend to fall sick more often owing to problems like high blood pressure. No employee in his right mind is going to continue doing a job that adversely affects their health. This will eventually lead them to put down their papers sooner than they had planned.

No privacy

Everyone around you can see your computer screen and hear every word you talk on the phone in an open office setting. Managers and supervisors can peer over their team member's shoulder whenever they want. Lack of personal and professional privacy ultimately leads to frustration and high burnout rates.

If you're setting up a new office, it is best to avoid the open office layout owing to the above mentioned reasons. However, if you already have an open layout, you can try establishing a flat hierarchy and better privacy for your employees to keep them happy and productive.

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