Complete Story


Enough With the Open Office Concepts

People hate them so much they create ‘fourth walls’ for privacy

Remember that time companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars on open-office layouts, only to discover that face-to-face interactions decrease by 70 percent in open-office plans? More fallout today: Ethan Bernstein, the Harvard researcher behind that finding, has taken to the Harvard Business Review to analyze why.

He says that workers in open spaces quickly develop psychological fourth walls, the conceptual boundaries that protect their public solitude. For example, coworkers quickly learn that wearing headphones or appearing to work intently will stop interruptions. “Especially in open spaces, fourth-wall norms spread quickly,” writes Bernstein.

The solution, however, may not come from asking individual employees what it is they actually want. “Offices overly focused on supporting individual preferences are unlikely to do an optimal job of supporting the overall team,” Bernstein writes.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Fast Company.

Printer-Friendly Version