We hear it all the time. Open office space fosters creativity and innovation through increased communication amongst employees. Employees who work in open-office settings are happier workers, etc. According to a recent piece in the New Yorker by Maria Konnikova, this may not be the case.
Citing a study that took place in Denmark, Konnikova writes that employees who work in an open office setting take more sick leave than their counterparts in traditional office settings. It is also suggested that the noise and distractions that occur with open office designs can increase stress amongst employees.
The study also focused on employees born after 1982. Younger employees favor the open office design because of the relationship opportunities it presents. Employees communicate on a much more frequent scale in open offices, and thus it becomes easier to form relationships with other employees.
Sine we are used to getting only positive feedback about open office design, it is valuable to see reports of the negative effects of this revolutionary style of working. When considering how to increase your office's productivity, keep this research in mind and be on the lookout for future studies on this ever changing style of office design.