According to a new study from Harvard, open plan offices do not help in face-to-face collaboration. A report in Inc.com states that in open plan offices collaboration not only decreases but many a time employers tend to recede into their own space even more, and use email or even message to get their work done. The same report mentions that although open spaces in offices were always correlated with less productivity, increase in the collaboration was used as a reasoning for it.
The new study completely dispels this and the only reasoning for companies opting for open spaces then remains a lower rent to be paid by them and fewer office spaces. A better alternative to this, according to the report, is for employees to work from home. This cuts down the expenditure incurred by the office substantially. And it also allows employees to stay in housing areas that are more affordable and not necessarily in a high-rent area.
A paper called The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration published in The Royal Society Publishing argues, “Many organisations, like our two field sites, transform their office architectures into open spaces with the intention of creating more F2F [face-to-face] interaction and thus a more vibrant work environment.” It adds, “What they often get — as captured by a steady stream of news articles professing the death of the open office — is an open expanse of proximal employees choosing to isolate themselves as best they can (e.g. by wearing large headphones) while appearing to be as busy as possible (since everyone can see them).”