Ever catch yourself thinking, “work is killing me”? Well, if you’re in a traditional open office, you might be onto something. Chances are you’re among the roughly 70% of office employees working for a company with an open office style layout. Back in the 50’s, this German design was dreamt up to break down barriers and allow the free flow of ideas. In reality, it allowed for the free flow of your coworker’s conversation with her dermatologist to distract you and a few others others from getting work done. Once in awhile you even get the added bonus of a sneeze gently misting the back of your neck. All joking aside, open offices are stressful and disruptive as well as a drain on productivity, health, and job satisfaction. Here’s why.
In reality, it allowed for the free flow of your coworker’s conversation with her dermatologist to distract you and a few others others from getting work done. Once in awhile you even get the added bonus of a sneeze gently misting the back of your neck. All joking aside, open offices are stressful and disruptive as well as a drain on productivity, health, and job satisfaction. Here’s why.
Traditional open offices spread more germs than ideas
The detrimental health effects of traditional open-plan offices are very real. Thanks to one Arizona State University study we know that when Sally pops two DayQuil and drags herself out of bed and into the office, half of the commonly touched surfaces are infected by that afternoon. Large scale studies across the globe have continued to prove this.
One Swedish study has shown employees in open offices taking twice as many sick day as those in private offices. Similar results were shown in a Danish survey, where open offices resulted in a 62% increase in sick days. Again, almost the same results were repeated in a Canadian study – 1.8 sick days for remote workers versus 3.1 for employees in a traditional open office.
Impact on productivity and job satisfaction
Catching a cold isn’t what’s most concerning about traditional open office layouts. Not even close. Most of the time you’re feeling great and ready to crush that to-do list. Unfortunately a traditional office will quickly drain you of that hustler mentality and it’s not your fault. When compared to coworking spaces or even, traditional offices increase stress levels while decreasing the ability to concentrate and stay motivated. Those of you who’ve worked in an open office know all too well that noisy distractions don’t stop.
The sales manager behind you is on calls half the day, the content team in front of you has hourly touch-bases at their desks, and you secretly want to choke your neighbor with the Katy Perry “Firework” ringtone for all the right reasons. All this stimulating interference measurably inhibits cognitive performance. Architecture firm, Gensler found that employees spend more than half their time working on projects that require uninterrupted individual focus. That’s essentially the exact opposite of what traditional open offices provide.
Coworking/Shared Office Spaces are a healthy balance
Working from home can alleviate some of these issues but you’ll likely lose any sense of community and purpose while trying to work in your boxers. A better solution is to check out a shared office space. Shared offices or coworking spaces are exploding in popularity because they combine the best of both worlds: individual privacy when you need it, and conference rooms, communal areas, and team offices to collaborate when you don’t. Best of all, the membership options are on your terms. Swing by for a few hours, a week, a month, or however long it takes to knock out that assignment. At the end of the day, you can’t herd people together, elbow to elbow, and expect them to flourish. Until then you’ve got two options – stay in your stressful openoffice and invest in noise canceling headphones, vitamin C, and a screw-off facial expression, or, check out a coworking space.
Bridgeworks is a vibrant coworking space right by the beach on Long Island, NY, offering office space for rent, meeting rooms, networking events and much more. Bridgeworks Long Beach also features countless communal spaces, cafés, lounges and added bonuses like social bikes and ping pong. Corporate NYC commuters and digital nomads alike take advantage of the new creative hub to network, boost productivity, and of course, cut the commute time. Learn more at www.bridgeworkslongbeach.com.