Four years ago, Chris Nagele did what many other technology executives have done before — he moved his team into an open concept office.I need to make a note here: American management sees employee misery as an independent good.
His staff had been exclusively working from home, but he wanted everyone to be together, to bond and collaborate more easily. It quickly became clear, though, that Nagele had made a huge mistake. Everyone was distracted, productivity suffered and the nine employees were unhappy, not to mention Nagele himself.
It is believed that if your employees are happy, the consultants believe that you are leaving money on the table.
………This does not surprise me. It has always been my experience.
Numerous companies have embraced the open office — about 70% of US offices are open concept — and by most accounts, very few have moved back into traditional spaces with offices and doors. But research that we’re 15% less productive, we have immense trouble concentrating and we’re twice as likely to get sick in open working spaces, has contributed to a growing backlash against open offices.
Since moving, Nagele himself has heard from others in technology who say they long for the closed office lifestyle. “Many people agree — they can’t stand the open office,” he says. “They never get anything done and have to do more work at home.”
What’s more, certain open spaces can negatively impact our memory. This is especially true for hotdesking, an extreme version of open plan working where people sit wherever they want in the work place, moving their equipment around with them.
Of course, it's cheaper in the short run, and as I noted above, it makes workers miserable, so it is like catnip to so called business experts.