With the International Management Facility Association revealing that over 70 percent of US office workers have to deal with distraction-rich environments at their workplace, a new study has come out with the advantages and disadvantages of an open-plan office.
Global design and architecture firm Gensler has released the results of a survey of some 2,035 workers in different kinds of offices, across 10 industry segments.
The study found that employees working in open-plan offices reported having difficulty to focus, and hence difficulty working effectively, ABC News reported.
Gensler said that those surveyed represented a broad range of demographics, including education, age, gender and location and included knowledge workers working in an office some or all of the time.
Diane Hoskins, one of Gensler's co-chief executive officers, wrote that the trend toward open offices was building since the 1970s, driven by the need for greater collaboration and better communication.
In a 2009 paper, Professor Tonya Smith-Jackson, chair of the industrial and systems engineering department at North Carolina A and T State University and co-author Katherine Klein, found that irrelevant speech contributed to mental workload, poor performance, stress and fatigue.
They wrote that the open-plan offices were identified as problematic.
Smith-Jackson added that they saw performance decrements and reduced productivity overall and the reason was twofold: distractions (verbal and visual) reduced employee's focus, and, at the same time, upped their mental workload.