Open Floor Plan Offices Have Few Fans, Study Finds

With Democratic Primary candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently suggesting he’d transform the White House’s East Room into an open office floor plan if elected, it’s a timely opportunity to note that U.S. workers aren’t particularly fond of the open floor plan concept. A survey by business-to-business ratings and review company Clutch found that only 28 percent of employees prefer open office space. With staff valuing personal space at work, 52 percent of those surveyed want private offices.

Clutch’s study found that nearly all employees (98 percent) have an assigned spot at their office—and they desire this space. More than half of employees (53 percent) value their personal space in the office over any other office space such as places to relax (14 percent), quiet spaces (13 percent), small collaborative spaces (11 percent) and large meeting rooms (11 percent).

Various studies have shown that open floor plans raise workers’ stress and unhappiness levels, increase the amount of sick-leave they take and, according to research from the Harvard Business School, cut face-to-face interactions by 70 percent and increase email and messaging by approximately 50 percent.

In its survey, Clutch interviewed nine businesses across the U.S. to learn what a “typical” office space looked like in 2019. Ultimately, the research shows that although there are general trends of U.S. office spaces, there is no longer a “typical” office space. The company notes that the perfect office space varies based on companies’ needs and objectives.

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