It has been one of the pillars of modern office design and workplace theory: open offices, with fewer walls, doors and spatial boundaries, encourage interaction and collaboration between workers.
A central tenet of the coworking phenomenon is the prevailing assumption that mingling with co-workers will expose you to a bounty of new ideas — and large corporates in all fields have taken the bait to tear down office walls, dismantle cubicles and remove any sense of workplace solitude.
But a new study from two Harvard academics, published by the Royal Society of Great Britain, suggest that this idea has no basis in reality, and that office design should be more nuanced. That is because their research shows that open office spaces actually cause workers to interact with each other less frequently and the office layouts kill productivity.
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