We know it doesn’t work.
Yet that hasn’t stopped open plan offices from thriving.
Even if people, and good ideas, don’t thrive in them.
DavidBrooks in his The New York Times article ‘The Immortal Awfulness of Open Plan Workplaces’ points out the absurdity of this when he says that:
For decades, research has found that open plan offices are bad for companies, bad for workers, bad for health and bad for morale. And yet they just don’t die.
Amongst others, he cites a 2020 study by Jahncke and Hallman that found a 14% improvement in performance for employees in quieter one person spaces compared with open plan spaces.
One of the real advantages available to companies right now is the opportunity to make work spaces more engaging: that’s if they want workers back in the office AND they want quality work .
If the illusion that if you’re not watching workers they’re not working still prevails (as faulty as that is), at least give them the right kind of space to work in.
Knowledge workers want to do good, quality work.
Those that I work with work too hard, rather than not hard enough!
They want to do a good job. Their expectations are often higher than their KPIs.
If the prospect of coming to work fills them with the dread of not being able to engage in focused work and productive collaboration, identify what will change that.