Open plan offices are making people sick, leading to high levels of stress and lower productivity, according to an Australian study.
A global review into the effect of modern office design led to the conclusion that working in an open-plan had a negative impact with high levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure, and a high staff turnover.
"The evidence we found was absolutely shocking,'''' News.com.au quoted Dr Vinesh Oommen from the Queensland University of Technology''s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation as saying.
"In 90 per cent of the research, the outcome of working in an open-plan office was seen as negative, with open-plan offices causing high levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure, and a high staff turnover.
"The high level of noise causes employees to lose concentration, leading to low productivity, there are privacy issues because everyone can see what you are doing on the computer or hear what you are saying on the phone, and there is a feeling of insecurity,’’ he added.
There are increased odds of workplace conflict by "sitting so close to someone that each time their phone rings you can get irritated''''.
"I think most of us, including myself, can relate to that,'''' said Oommen.
Moreover, large, open spaces could lead to an increased risk of illnesses. For instance, influenza virus are passed on more swiftly.
"Based on these findings, I think employers around the country need to rethink the open-plan environment in their offices," he said.
"The research found that the traditional design was better - small, private closed offices,” he added.