The Open Office Concept: Is It Always The Solution?

Recent studies show that face-to-face interactions drop 70% when firms transition to open offices, while electronic interactions like email, Skype, and Teams increase. Research suggests that the reason for increased isolation is due to the familiarity of what some call “public solitude,” and colleagues come to observe and respect those behaviors within an open office space.

An Open Office Concept Isn't Always the Solution

Separate findings show that team members’ location has a big impact on both their physical and digital interactions. In general, the further apart people are, the less they communicate.

The open office concept is the solution for a lot of companies, but it’s not the solution for all. And if it is your company’s solution, how you make your office space more open can make all the difference. Leaders of companies are missing the strategic aspect of workplace design, jumping the gun without conducting real experiments to see how their employees interact and behave throughout a typical workday.

Technology has made it possible to measure and observe the anatomy of collaboration within a workplace. Companies are using sensors to detect how long workers are at their desks, how often they move around, and where they go. Companies are also analyzing digital communication metadata people leave behind when doing things like sending emails, opening an email browser window, posting on Slack or Teams, and making a call. Employers can use advanced analytics tools to study the data and understand shared behaviors and patterns among employees.

Most decision makers believe they should let their employees choose an atmosphere that best meets their individual needs. However, in this case offices are not supporting the overall team or the collection of teams that need to work together. Leaders need to take on the responsibility of deciding what collective behaviors should be encouraged or discouraged and how.

Overall, every company and team’s interactions are different. In order to discover which workplace design is best for your organization, experimentation is key in understanding employee behavior and the dynamics at play. Companies should take a strategic approach to workplace design, producing solutions that cater to the company’s culture, and the functionality of certain tasks and roles.

If you are interested in setting up a meeting to discuss more, please reach out to me at or 404-446-1564. 

February 28, 2020

Cresa Moves Up Five Places to #8 on the Lipsey Brand Survey

“One of the biggest differences is migrating from a respected boutique to our clients working with one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the world. Cresa’s goal is to firmly situate ourselves as the best and largest global occupier-advisory firm.”
February 27, 2020

Priorities in Workplace Happiness

While futuristic features or the latest furniture and equipment might sound more exciting on the surface, research has found that employees are actually far more concerned about the necessities. Like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, there are some important foundational pieces that must be in place within a functioning workspace before any additional features are added.