Once upon a time, open-office floor plans were part of the trendy, generation X, office counter-culture. Now, open-office plans are the new norm. However, as managers begin to reconcile the fact that lack of privacy costs more than it saves, private offices and cubicles are poised to make a comeback. The following is why we are looking forward to having those three felt-covered walls again.

Distraction – Science agrees, the increased noise is not worth it. Even low-level noise interferes with our memory, ability to reason, and overall well-being. Additionally, coworkers walking and working in your field of view causes visual distractions. Neuroscience suggests that getting back on task may take longer after a visual distraction than an audible one.

Privacy – We all need some modicum of privacy, and personal space is first to go in an open office. Multiple studies found that privacy in the workplace increases both our productivity and our job satisfaction. In fact, one study shows that noise and lack of privacy are main sources of dissatisfaction at work and that our satisfaction varies based on how enclosed our workspace is.

Communication – The reason most frequently cited for having an open plan is an excuse. Workers feel no more satisfied with communication when the walls are taken down. Instead, employees feel like there is less privacy and confidentiality for their conversations.

When moving from a closed to an open-office plan, these issues do not subside after an adjustment period. Even after six months, employees’ decreased satisfaction with their environment, stress levels, interoffice relationships, and job performance do not improve. As the open-office plan continues to take its toll on employees and the company’s profits, expect to see a new old trend of private offices and cubicles in the workplace.

Tangram Studios is here to help make any space work for you. Feel free to contact us today.