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Offices For All: Why and How the Open-Office Layout Kills Productivity →

Jason Feifer, a Fast Company senior editor, describes how open-office layouts are bad for employees, bosses, and for productivity.

And he’s spot-on. Check this out:

This is the problem with open-office layouts: It assumes that everyone’s time belongs to everyone else. It doesn’t. We are here to work together, sure, but most of the time, we actually work alone. That’s what work is: It is a vacillation between collaboration and solitary exploration. One isn’t useful without the other. When we are working in a group—literally when we sit around a table brainstorming, or when we are having a conversation—we don’t pretend we’re alone. That would just be weird and awkward. So when we’re alone, let’s not pretend we’re in a group.

I’ve have the experience of working in both and open and a semi-closed environment. I found that I was far, far more productive when all distractions were removed: the sounds of my coworkers tapping on their keyboards and sipping their coffee silenced; the distraction of cars, trucks and people passing outside a window eradicated; the allure of social media quieted by the overwhelming sense that this is where work gets done, and I have no time for meaningless videos of cats doing strange things. I would really rather get this problem fixed so I can move on to the next cool thing.

Open-office layouts sapped every millilitre of productivity out of my mind and body, and I was almost entirely unable to focus and get good work done. Feifer illustrates brilliantly this struggle for peace and quiet while at work.