Researchers from the University of Sydney have issued a study of how people feel about working in open offices without office walls, and the results show people are not happy about it. The supposed benefit from being able to communicate without the barriers was outweighed by the lack of privacy.
The most problematic office environments were found to be open offices and cubicles because there is a paucity of privacy, they are noisy, more crowded, and lousy temperature control. The most disturbing aspect for the office dwellers in open offices was the lack of space. The authors wrote:
Most companies that have switched to open office layouts probably won’t go back. Notions of improved collaboration aside, you can cram more people into an open floor plan than you can into a series of enclosed offices. But in some industries, maybe the solution is to do away with offices altogether–or at least reserve them for meetings and other important events. According to one recent study, workers who switch from office work to working from home see their stress levels drop by 25%. If companies want happy employees, that should be reason enough.