The entire point of the open office is to break down the walls, literally and figuratively, between employees to create a workplace that is more conducive to collaboration; it is basically a design idea that embodies the two heads are better than one idea.
But do open offices really breed the results they were designed for? Many studies suggest they don’t, and a new white paper from Perkins Eastman and furniture designer Three H links individualized work environments (not open offices) with increased creativity, focus, and productivity among employees.
The report, titled “The Effect of Individualized Work Settings on Productivity and Well-Being,” bases its findings on three case studies. It considered user-specific design recommendations related to privacy, ergonomics, communication, organization, and other environmental features, and discovered an office with a higher level of individualization can have a strong positive impact on employee productivity and well-being.
The report’s authors say, “The traditional office environment no longer supports the way we work. Providing a higher level of individualization can have strong positive impact on productivity and well-being, and may help to increase employee engagement.”
The white paper is the second of a three part series, with the third phase putting the results of the previous phases in action. Phase three will consist of implementing a design toolkit and testing its effectiveness in real-world settings.