I completely agree with a recent Wall Street Journal article and Guardian article which says that open-plan layout offices are “designed to encourage teamwork, but it also causes complaints over privacy and distraction.”

We all need collaborative work spaces to discuss and think as a team, but a lot of work we need needs concentration, focus and dedicated 2-3 hours in a go. In open layout spaces with no personal space this becomes tough. There are colleagues who are easily distracted or have different ways to approach their daily work and may not suit the work style of another who would rather prefer a quiet place to get the work done and meet at  a different place to collaborate and brainstorm.


Quoting New York Times article titled: From Cubicles, Cry for Quiet Pierces Office Buzz

“Scientists, for their part, are measuring the unhappiness and the lower productivity of distracted workers. After surveying 65,000 people over the past decade in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, report that more than half of office workers are dissatisfied with the level of “speech privacy,” making it the leading complaint in offices everywhere.

“In general, people do not like the acoustics in open offices,” said John Goins, the leader of the survey conducted by Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment. “The noisemakers aren’t so bothered by the lack of privacy, but most people are not happy, and designers are finally starting to pay attention to the problem.””


Not only the noise is an issue, but having a personal space where you can concentrate or even relax for a few minutes is essential. An employee working 8-10 hours at the workplace needs to unwind or focus and often needs that personal space with minimal intrusion.


Some creative work spaces like the Google offices around the world have created fun meeting spaces or just taking the work ‘outdoors’ to collaborate and work with others in the team. Such meeting spaces help in creative brainstorming and a break from the workstation / laptop gazing.

The most productive work spaces are indeed those which can offer a good balance between the ‘focus’ area and the teamwork brainstorm sessions.

Merging them together might not work for all since we all have different work styles and preferences.


What workspace works out best for you? What advantages or disadvantages do you see when working in an open layout office?

Pls share your thoughts in comments below.


Image credit: Getty Images via WSJ.com