Have you ever notice that the majority of images for open plan offices are bereft of people? Could it be that open plan layouts are detrimental to workers’ health?

Stockholm University research found that tradition open-plan offices were ‘less good’ for employee health.  Employees in open plan offices were more likely to take sick leave. Women in large open plan offices were far more at risk than workers in private offices, while men who were hot desking tended to record the highest number of total annual sick days.

The authors speculated that the increase level of sick leave was due to the higher risk of infection among people sharing a confine workspace and the exposure to stressors such as noise and the inability to control their immediate environment.

The gender differences in leave taken was attributed to the importance women place on social networks and the extent this is corroded in larger open office plans and the undermining of social status for men that hot-desking(or lack of designated workstation) engenders.

So we have yet another study (though admittedly with limitations) that concludes that open-plan offices are ineffective for silo workers only to be ignored by the powers to be.

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