Can open plan offices create a toxic environment?

When the idea of open plan offices was first put forth, it was viewed as a forward-thinking approach to encourage workforce collaboration. However, research has shown that rather than fostering a positive workflow space, open plan designs have the opposite effect. Here is a look at this new way of thinking.

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No escape

One of the main reasons people leave their jobs is because they can’t get along with their bosses. In an open plan environment, this can make the situation ten times worse as there is no escape and no place to separate yourself. Beware of office fit out companies who believe that open plan is the best option.

Health alert

Did you know that a sneeze or cough sprays 40,000 droplets that travel 200 miles per hour up to 26 feet? If this occurs in an open plan office, you are more likely to be infected. In an office with barriers such as cubicle walls, your chances are reduced, so you and your colleagues remain healthier for longer.

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No place to hide

It’s a fact that there are more introverted people than extroverts. In an open plan office – which aims to encourage interaction – introverts can become anxious, which can have a negative effect on their day-to-day productivity. There are lots of office fit out companies to choose from – try companies such as Mobius at Work Ltd – so make sure you find the one that works best for your employees.

Hard on the eyes

Open plan offices can be a visual riot, with each individual’s workstation reflecting their personality from desk ornaments to general clutter. Such an environment can be visually polluting and stifle creativity and productivity.

Gender imbalance

It’s a sad fact of the modern working world that women can be the subject of discrimination based on their gender. Take away traditional office walls, and their visibility is even greater.

Flight or fright

Our DNA programming has evolved over the years, but one thing remains a constant: sitting with your back unprotected causes your body to produce cortisol, a stress hormone, which affects immunity and weight and increases the risk of disease.

Mulitasking is bad for your brain

Research shows that multitaskers have reduced brain grey matter, further encouraging a toxic environment.