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The final nail in the coffin of open plan offices?

Open plan offices have taken off because of a desire to increase interaction and collaboration among workers. But an innovative new study has found that employees in open plan offices spend 73% less time in face-to-face interactions.

Email and messaging use shot up by over 67%.

The study which used electronic badges and microphones to monitor interactions among employees and tracked changes in email use has interesting conclusions:

  • When employees can’t concentrate, they tend to communicate less. They may even become indifferent to their coworkers.
  • Poor design can have unintended consequences–increasing the cognitive load on workers through high density or low privacy, both of which increase distraction.