Newsflash: Open-plan Offices Are Making Employees Sick

Well, it’s nice to have a scientific study to back up what we know intuitively. I like my company, I like my job, and I enjoy working on my team. My cubicle is the single-point of failure in my job satisfaction. To top it off, I’m apparently allergic to something in my office. I know there is a leaking pipe somewhere, so there could be mold. Whenever I’m at work, I’m sneezing my butt off and my nose is running like crazy. I have to bring tissues with me to meetings. How non-masculine is that? The funny thing is, I never even knew I had allergies until I moved to New Jersey. I work in Philadelphia, which is the same thing. New Jersey is little more than a suburb of either Philly or New York.

From the article:

"In 90 per cent of the 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 high level of noise causes employees to lose concentration, leading to low productivity, there are privacy issues because everyone can see what you are doing on the computer or hear what you are saying on the phone, and there is a feeling of insecurity.''

I can attest to all of it. I especially hate it when my wife decides that she wants to call and start an argument, because everybody hears it. I’ve been wanting to ask this for years, and this seems like a good time. Ladies, how often when you’re planning your day do you put on your to-do list “Call husband at work and start fight”?

It's taking all of my willpower not to quote the entire article. Here is part that I want to start posting all over this building:

"Based on these findings, I think employers around the country need
to rethink the open-plan environment in their offices,'' he said.

"The research found that the traditional design was better – small, private closed offices.

"The problem is that employers are always looking for ways to cut
costs, and using open-plan designs can save 20 per cent on
construction.''

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2 Responses

  1. Cubilcles aren’t open plan offices. Open plan is just desks placed in a big room.

  2. I know that’s the classical definition of an open plan office, but I don’t consider a cubicle in a high-traffic, high-noise area like the one I sit in to be any better for a worker’s health or productivity. Perhaps a study will show that being under constant observation by a steady stream of people all day long on only one side is better than being under observation from all sides, but I doubt it.
    Thanks for reading.

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