Are open offices a bad idea?

The desired collaboration can take a back seat to staffers’ loss of focus and even the spread of colds and other diseases. There are ways to handle this setup properly, though.

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Google uses them, as do eBay, Yahoo, Goldman Sachs and American Express. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg even enlisted famed architect Frank Gehry to design his company’s office expansion, which will be the largest open-plan office in the world, housing 3,000 employees without interior walls.

The freewheeling open office has become a hallmark for hip, forward-thinking companies, with the goal of cultivating a more desirable, collaborative and productive work environment. However, new research suggests that open-plan offices may be having the reverse effect.

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They’re less productive

For many employees, open-plan offices significantly increase the amount of cross-talk, interruptions and distractions over the course of a day.

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