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FlexSpace products solve noise and privacy issues in open offices. 

7 of the most common open plan office problems(1)

Views: 71     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-01-12      Origin: Site


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Touted as the cure for 'curing' row after row of soul-sucking cubicles, the open plan office space promises collaboration, innovation, increased productivity and much more.

With its cost-effective design, clean look and supposed productivity gains, open plan offices sound like the perfect set-up ...... Until they didn't.

A study conducted by Harvard Business School in 2018 found that when employees moved from closed workspaces to open office environments, face-to-face interactions between colleagues were reduced by 70%. The exact opposite of what they should be doing!

In most cases, employees are less happy in open office spaces because distractions and lack of privacy make work difficult. And unhappy employees mean reduced productivity and higher turnover. another study in 2018 found that around 13% of office employees were considering quitting because of this office layout.

Let's talk about some of the most common open plan office problems and what you can do to alleviate them.

1. A cacophony of noise with nowhere to go

Unsurprisingly, putting dozens of employees together in the same space creates noise. Even essential everyday office functions such as collaborating with colleagues on projects, printing documents or even simple typing can contribute to the level of noise pollution in an office.

This does not even get into the non-work related noise such as personal phone calls, lunch conversations etc.

Unbearable noise levels are one of the top complaints when it comes to open plan office spaces, with over 63% of employees reporting a lack of quiet spaces they can use to get their work done.

Not only is loud noise extremely annoying, it is also detrimental to the quality and efficiency of work. It can take about 20 minutes to regain focus after a disturbance, especially a noise disturbance; studies show that US office workers lose 86 minutes of work per day due to distractions.

Persistent noise distractions are a common and frustrating problem in open plan offices and can lead to reduced output, low staff morale and more turnover.

office space

2. No limits on distractions

Open plan offices claim to make it easier for people to interact, but what they really do is make it easier for people to get distracted.

From noise distractions to constant visual distractions, these potential open-plan office problems provide a constant stream of input that bombards employees from all sides.

Even the most dedicated workers can find themselves losing valuable work time as they are exposed to distracting conversations, music, small groups and much more.

3. what's that smell?

An open office is filled with all sorts of smells, from a colleague's excessive perfume to another colleague's favourite tuna fish sandwich at lunch.

Unlike other distractions such as conversation, music and temperature, smells are usually not immediately resolved. In an open office environment, there is nothing to stop bad smells from permeating the entire area and making work uncomfortable for long periods of time.

Research has shown that odours affect not only our mood and behaviour but also our performance at work due to their direct and indirect effects on our brains. Even universally accepted scents such as floral, citrus and mint can be distracting if not used in moderation, or if employees have previously had negative associations with a certain scent.

If this is the case, we can imagine how distracting 'bad' smells - such as sweat, body odour, onions, garlic, etc. - can be. - That may be so.

Because of its sensitive nature, employees may find it particularly difficult to address the problem. After all, it's never fun being the person who tells your colleagues that their smell bothers you.

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