Overcoming Open Workspace Challenges

Overcoming Open Workspace Challenges

Consider how you can use technology to overcome the drawbacks of open working environments.

Open workspaces have become the de-facto standard in workspace design. According to the Society of Human Relations Management, roughly 70% of offices have at least some open workspace design. In our own 2019 global study of approximately 635 end-user organizations, Nemertes Research found that 34.7% of participants only provision open workspaces – a leap from 16.7% in 2018. An additional 33% provision a mix of open and fixed workspaces, while nearly as many, 32.6%, planned to add more open workspaces by the end of 2019. Just 12.7% planned to increase only fixed workspaces.

In the last few years open offices have come under fire from researchers and, more importantly, those who work in them. It seems that cramming a large number of a people into a small area, without privacy, doesn’t exactly do wonders for productivity. Meanwhile organizations continue to increase their use of open workspaces, often driven by the opportunity to reduce real estate costs, and to better support teleworkers who may only need temporary or occasional in-office workspaces.

Nemertes’ study found that the use of open workspaces negatively correlates with collaboration’s success. Our success model is based on identifying quantifiable benefits from collaboration investments such as cost savings, revenue gains, or measured productivity improvements. We then created a success group that included those companies that had achieved higher than average benefits in one or more of these areas. Of those using open workspaces, just 26.8% were in our success group, compared to 37.5% of those using cubicles and fixed office spaces. This means that open workspaces are negatively impacting collaboration investment ROI!

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