Excellence & Organization
Open Office Spaces reduce human interaction
by Rene Funke
Two empirical field studies by authors Ethan S. Bernstein and Stephen Turban published by the Royal Society show: open, unlimited offices reduce face-to-face interaction by about 70%.
Workplace concepts are continuously revised in order to further promote cooperation among employees. With the best of intentions, open office architecture, so-called open space concepts, are usually favoured.
However, the impact of open office architecture on collaboration is not as simple as previously assumed, as two empirical field studies prove. It turns out that the " the antecedents of human interaction at work go beyond proximity and visibility".
One bright spot is that electronic interaction, as measured by "To:" emails received, compensates for some of the decline in interaction by increasing by about 20 % to 50 %.