“Open office” floor plans decrease interaction, may lower productivity

Many companies have moved from individual offices or cubicles to open floor spaces, removing doors and presumed barriers to interaction.

A study that tracked workers before conversion to open offices, and after the conversion, found that open offices dramatically reduced employee face to face interaction – in favor of instant messaging and email. The latter, however, have been shown to reduce productivity.

Bottom line: open office layouts are failing to achieve improved interaction – and are actually making interaction worse.