HughPickens.com writes: Lindsey Kaufman reports in the WaPo that despite its obvious problems, the open-office model has continued to encroach on workers across the country, with about 70 percent of U.S. offices having no or low partitions. Silicon Valley has led the way — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg enlisted famed architect Frank Gehry to design the largest open floor plan in the world, housing nearly 3,000 engineers within a single room that stretches 10 acres. Michael Bloomberg was another early adopter of the open-space trend, saying it promoted transparency and fairness. Bosses love the ability to keep a closer eye on their employees, ensuring clandestine porn-watching, constant social media-browsing and unlimited personal cellphone use isn’t occupying billing hours. But according to Kaufman, employers are getting a false sense of improved productivity. A 2013 study showed many workers in open offices are frustrated by distractions that lead to poorer work performance. Nearly half of the surveyed workers in open offices said the lack of sound privacy was a significant problem, and more than 30 percent complained about the lack of visual privacy. The New Yorker, in a review of research on this nouveau workplace design, determined that the benefits in building camaraderie simply mask the negative effects on work performance. While employees feel like they’re part of a laid-back, innovative enterprise, the environment ultimately damages workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction says Kaufman. “Though multitasking millennials seem to be more open to distraction as a workplace norm, the wholehearted embrace of open offices may be ingraining a cycle of underperformance in their generation,” writes Maria Konnikova. “They enjoy, build, and proselytize for open offices, but may also suffer the most from them in the long run.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.