Are Open Plan offices Killing Morale?

You know, my recent encounter with the over enthusiastic paintball seller got me thinking. Even knowing how much fun they’ve been in the past at other companies, would I actually want to partake in any corporate days out with my colleauges? 

This isn’t a miserable git thing. I think that it’s a modern-workplace thing. Maybe in the past when people sat in cubicles or personal offices, communication and knowing who you really worked with was trickier. Yet in the age of the open-plan office, have we had too much of our colleauges? 

I read a report recently that stated: “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.” 

Anyone agreee? How often do you find yourself unable to throw yourself into your task because the person at the desk next to you is talking a bit too loud on the phone, or the people behind are muttering and you can’t help but shake that feeling it’s about what’s on your screen? 

And this is only looking at the morale issue, ever noticed how quickly a cold spreads in an open plan office?

I’m actually leaning toward the idea that morale would be boosted by seperating staff again. I think I know far too much about some of the people I work with and the idea of shooting them with a paintball gun seems somewhat defeatist as it’s only paint… 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting that we should all be locked away in little 4ft square cubicles but I get the feeling that open plan offices have gone a little too far. My morale would probably do better with a break from some colleagues rather than sharing some corporate fun with them.

I would like to know if I’m on my own in this one or if anyone else finds the open plan office more of a hindrance to productivity?


  1. Interesting perspective, but the open office environment also encourages spontaneous communication, exchange of information and accountability for work done. If everyone can see what you’re doing, then they know you aren’t on LOLCats or Fark all day.

    • way to blow my cover. Open plan isn’t without it’s benefits, I’ve been in offices where it’s worked but it does tend to be in the more creative industries though concentration is harder to achieve

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