I think this quote captures it best: "[An open office is] an open expanse of proximal employees choosing to isolate themselves as best they can (e.g. by wearing large headphones) while appearing to be as busy as possible (since everyone can see them)
"http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... 3/20170239
Productivity requires privacy as well as collaboration. You actually have to get your work done
, not just talk about it.
When you have an open office, everyone is thrown together without regard to what they are doing or how they might work together. What interaction it facilitates would be casual "watercooler chitchat", which interferes with work. The default is then to just try to get your work done without distraction. But if everyone had offices or cubicles, and one needed or wanted to talk F2F with another, that is still possible, easy, and the resulting conversation would be focused, and thus productive.
So perhaps this could work with small teams (2-4) and productivity would increase. But with too many people thrown together, the loss of privacy and the increase in (potential) distraction overwhelms the (small) potential gain from more collaboration.
A more interesting study would be to look at, wherever cooperation occurs, how
this collaboration affects productivity. Not all communication is collaboration, and not all collaboration is helpful.
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