An architect’s defense of open-plan offices | Web Designing

A recent study of how employees communicate in open-plan offices seemed to be the final nail in the coffin of this popular workplace design. But the study had an essential flaw, writes architect Ashley L. Dunn.

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Recently, a team of Harvard researchers set out to determine whether open-plan offices help employees interact with each other. Open-plan offices have come under intense scrutiny, as studies link the design to poor acoustics and employee performance, but companies continue to build them, because they’re cost-effective, and they’re believed to foster communication and collaboration among employees. The Harvard study wasn’t exactly encouraging, at least not at first glance: It concluded that wall-free offices encourage workers to talk less and email more. Collaboration appeared to be reduced in the subjects’ workplaces.

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