Oh, the open office. A trendy design concept. What it looks like: No walls, a clean sweep of open desk surface populated by laptop-tapping employees, supposedly communicating and collaborating like never before. What it feels like: A fishbowl, a nude beach, a factory floor, a large room filled with stressed employees desperately trying to block each other out with headphones.
Employers still love the idea of the open office, because it’s cheap, stylish, maximizes real estate and enables constant surveillance of employees. But the evidence continues to stack up against the actual benefits. It turns out the much-vaunted collaboration that is supposed to arise in an open office environment doesn’t happen; in fact, just the opposite occurs.