Many of the leading companies in the Philippines have adopted the open office layout, one that is defined without cubicles and made fewer officers for their employees.
This trend was first introduced in the 1950s and reflected the need for a more “friendly” work environment that encouraged camaraderie and the exchange of ideas among the co-workers. They thought that by removing the cubicle walls and offices they would open up the office for a more conducive working environment.
However, recent studies, as published in The New Yorker, claim that the open office layout is actually counterproductive.
In 1997, a large oil company assessed the satisfaction of their employees after making the transition into an open space layout, first after four weeks and six months after. And they came to a shocking conclusion, the satisfaction rate among employees went down considerably. Instead of encouraging a more united team and a laidback environment, eomployees felt distracted, stressful, frustrated and even resentful towards their peers. This is because without the physical barriers of cubicles, privacy was jeopardized and the noise created by the unfiltered chatter distracted them from their work. “Physical barriers have been closely linked to psychological privacy, and a sense of privacy boost job performance,” The New Yorker shared.
Senior executives were noted to be more dissatisfied than younger managers. While millenials were considered to be more equipped to multi-task and “zone out” these distractions, the open office layout still hurt their productivity as it took them greater effort and a longer “recovery” time to get back into the working groove once they’d been distracted. The New Yorker says, “Compared with standard offices, employees experienced more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation.”
When moving to a new office or when deciding to renovate your current office space, consider these points for improved productivity.