Constant Interruptions Are Among the Things You Hate About Open-Concept Offices

eBay's Turkey office (photo credit: Home Design Magazine)
eBay’s Turkey office (photo credit: Home Design Magazine)

Open-concept offices have been getting a lot of flack lately, with many saying this type of office design actually gets in the way of productivity instead of encouraging it. Fast Company asked their readers what they hated most about open-concept offices, and many cited constant interruptions, too much noise and a lack of privacy as their reasons.

An open-concept office is designed for distraction. While it encourages collaboration, it also encourages idle chat. Even if you aren’t actively engaging in a conversation, the noise around you can get in the way of your focus. It also opens up room for interruptions brought on by colleagues. Coworkers will want to share personal stories, banter about work, and, as one respondent notes, they might even want to throw a football around. People often don’t take others’ productivity into account, especially when these types of social interactions are encouraged in the office.

Privacy is another issue brought up in Fast Company‘s survey. Work can get frustrating and sometimes you just need a few minutes to collect yourself or make a personal phone call. An open office makes these small acts almost impossible. Others noted that they weren’t able to have a private conversation with their boss and conference rooms were always full. One respondent notes that they show up to work several hours before the office opens to get uninterrupted work time.

“I arrive to work at an absurdly early hour–like 5:00 a.m. (my office opens at 9:00 a.m.) to get in a few hours of power work before I become the web surfing, distracted, silent, unproductive dork once the office fills up.”

Do you work in an open-concept office? What do you love and hate about it?

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