While we think that as time goes on and we humans (and the technology we create) are becoming faster, more streamlined and more economical, the opposite might be true. We might, in fact, be shooting ourselves in the foot and are able to perform poorer at work because modern offices are not conducive to work.
In a recent article in the Telegraph, science editor Sarah Knapton, writes that the practice of getting workers out of their cubicles and into open plan spaces where collaboration and creativity can flourish will soon be a thing of the past. While the idea of open plan environments was probably a good and novel one after having employees locked in cubicles for decades, the fact, she writes, is that open plan offices are just no good for productivity. Another expert in the field (which Knapton quotes in the article) is Dr Nicole Millard. She, too, believes that the distractions prevalent in open plan offices are too great and that these setups make no provision for introverts and the way in which they are most productive.
Millard believes that the worker of tomorrow will be, what she terms, “shoulder-bag-workers” – employees that carry their laptops in bags and meet at coffee shops to gather in small teams while working on projects.
While modern open plan offices are easy to manage and set up, they don’t really suit the needs of any employees – not even the rowdy, outgoing types. Studies have proven that open plan offices lead to distractions every three minutes and that it takes between 8 and 20 minutes to refocus on the task at hand.
There are however some solace in that designers and manufacturers have cottoned on to the need for privacy and quiet spaces in offices and have been hard at work to develop systems that can be put in place in existing offices. Have a look at our range of acoustic furniture to find a solution that will make you open plan office conducive to work.