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Your space or mine?

A seamless office makes for less efficiency, says a study, so let's hold onto our turf while we still can.

india Updated: Aug 08, 2011 21:35 IST

There are certain management principles that simply fail to impress us. Take for example, the idea of seamless office spaces. According to this plan, there will be no more glass cabins and wood partitions, and no matter where you are in the official pecking order, you will be almost at the same (seating) level as your CEO. Okay that may be stretching things a little too far, but that will be the case with more or less all your contemporaries. So next time, you look up from your computer, chances are that that you will have eye contact with your not-so-friendly neighbour who you unsympathetically called 'Big Moose' the other day at a party. Of course, there are chances that it could be a pretty, young intern, but then you can't always count on such lucky days.

However, there is a bit of good news too: a study has claimed that the hustle and bustle of open offices can lead to a 32% drop in employees' comfort and reduce their productivity by 15%. The researchers, god bless them, found that open-plan offices create unnecessary activity in the brains of workers and that can hamper their work schedule. The study also claimed that having a clean and sterile desk (without any personal items like photographs) could also leave employees with "smaller brains". We too agree that open offices don't really create an 'open' atmosphere simply because most people don't follow the basic rules of business in open offices. So, say, you are trying to concentrate on a difficult story, or whatever is your trade, and suddenly a shrill mobile ringtone goes off, your option is to swear softly and carry on or just fling the file across.

A private space, be it at home or office, is always sacred. Remember the time when you first got your own little nook in the house. It was a small one but nevertheless a prized possession, a place you could call your own with posters, books and 'own kind' of music. So why is it that when we join work and offices, managers feel that we don't need a place to call our own? In an age that thrives of personalising everything, isn't it absurd that in an office we are going the other way?