Bad for the Biz: Open-plan Offices Make Employees Unproductive

Open Plan Office with a lot of employees

More workplaces are abandoning traditional cubicles and switching to open-floor layouts. Most businesses in Utah are joining the bandwagon for all its supposed rewards: increased employee collaboration and flexible space. What some businesses found is that open-plan offices haven’t been considerate of one crucial business success factor: employee productivity.

Less Productive Workers

Employee productivity depends mostly on how focused workers are. In open-plan offices, concentration on tasks becomes difficult because there are zero privacy and lots of noise.

The ease to collaborate in such spaces also comes with the ease to talk just about anything, including things that aren’t related to work. Employees rarely realize that they’re losing tons of work as time passes. The noise offers no relief, either. With no cubicles to keep employees from hearing the buzzing devices and phone conversations of nearby colleagues, distraction is just inevitable.

What’s worse is that workers in open-plan offices get sick more often. Not just because of the zero privacy that’s stressful both physically and mentally. It’s also because germs spread easily in open-plan offices. This is why sanitizing your office regularly is necessary. In Sandy, services such as Forte Commercial Cleaning can prevent bacteria from breeding on your employees’ desks.

Addressing the Issue

Given all these issues in open-plan offices, does this require changing your design and reverting to traditional cubicles? There are many ways to address the drawbacks of open-plan offices. For instance, some businesses address the lack of privacy by having small cubicles that aren’t necessarily workstations but areas where employees can go if they need some peace.

To minimize distractions, employees use signs that say, “Do not disturb”. They also have a sit-down agreement to reduce conversations and keep phone calls short as much they can. If the latter is not possible, they agree to call others using mobile phones. Also, they can go to a room that’s more private.

An open-plan office has some drawbacks in productivity. Still, that doesn’t mean throwing it out altogether. Remember, it has lots of benefits, too. The key is to encourage a space conducive for productivity.