A researcher at Queensland University of Technology in Australia has conducted a large-scale literature review on open-plan offices and unearthed a panoply of undesirable consequences on health from working in such environments.
Dr Vinesh Oommen found that “in 90 per cent of research, the outcome of working in an open-plan office was seen as negative, with open-plan offices causing high levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure, and a high staff turnover.”
The research also found that increased levels of noise leads to low productivity and that privacy is compromised as business is conducted in the full glare of one’s workmates, sometimes leading to feelings of insecurity. There is a higher chance of conflict – resulting from irritation at workmate’s behaviour and the sharing of office resources and amenities. You are also, of course, more likely to catch something, like a cold or ‘flu.
“The research found that the traditional design was better – small, private closed offices,” Dr Oommen said. “Having an office environment that promotes health and high productivity would be more beneficial to employers in the long run.”