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New study shows loss of productivity in open plan offices – build it into your business case for flexible working arrangements

With ever-increasing workloads and ever-shortening deadlines, distraction is the enemy of office workers and petition walls can be a great way to shut out the distraction of co-workers, passing traffic and all the activity that goes on in a modern workplace, and thereby improve focus.  Open plan offices, however, afford no such protection.

 In a new study reported today in The Australian Financial Review, US developmental molecular bilogist John Medina has now confirmed what most of us have always knows: open plan offices reduce productivity.  In fact interrupted workers took 50% longer to complete tasks and made up to 50% more errors.  And a survey by recruitment firm Robert Walters  found 50% of Australian professionals ranked wordy co-workers their most time-consuming office distraction. The Age also agrees having publishing an article on this same topic back in April 2009.

If you’re building a business case for flexibility, or working from home, make sure you factor this in – could be a win-win for everyone to get you out of the open plan and into the peace and quiet of your home office.


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