What’s the Truth of the Matter for Open Offices?

Intro

Collaboration is easier than ever before for employees — or so it would seem. Open, flexible, work spaces are replacing the cubicle, which makes staff more visible. Using messaging programs is taking the place of making phone calls, which increases accessibility to people at work.

The use of enterprise social media tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack are taking the place of conversations at the water cooler, which makes employees more connected than before. Virtual meetings are happening through the use of software like GoToMeeting, Zoom, and Webex in place of face-to-face meetings, making coworkers “ever-present”. The last time change occurred this quickly to the means of collaborating was when advancements to ventilation and lighting enabled the construction of high office buildings, and one could make the argument that it was never before this efficient. Creating places of work for people to collaborating has never seemed so easy.

However, with the spread of technological and physical means for collaboration, there also has been – according to evidence – the development and spread of behaviors that are counter to the expectations of designers’ and goals of business managers. In many places of work, we have witnessed for consulting tasks or research projects, those places have developed less interaction—or interaction that is less meaningful —instead of more meaningful.

In the next article, I will provide insight and experiments that you can carry out to determine what your staff need to be more productive and have more meaningful interactions with each other.

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