Report: U.S. workers hate ‘open’ office spaces

Before you go knocking walls down or dismantling cubicles in the name of collaboration and productivity, peruse the results of this new survey.


Would you change jobs to find a less annoying workspace?

According to survey data collected by Bospar PR, it would appear many of us would—especially those toiling in an “open” office setting.

The survey, which garnered responses from a diverse cross-section of 1,000 U.S. workers, found that 76 percent of Americans “hate open offices.” The top reasons cited included:

  • Lack of privacy (43 percent)
  • Overhearing too many personal conversations (34 percent)
  • Cannot concentrate (29 percent)
  • Worries that sensitive information can be leaked (23 percent)
  • Can’t do their best thinking (21 percent)

Despite a recent trend of employers tinkering with barrier-free offices, community benches and desk clumps, the science is not sanguine about open workspace productivity. Some have even called such layouts a “disaster.”

What is it workers want, then? Eighty-four percent of Bospar’s respondents said working from home would be ideal. Nearly 60 percent cited “not having to commute” as a top reason for wanting to work remotely, and 41 percent indicated that they’d be more productive working from home. Thirty-five percent said that remote work would enable them to produce more “thoughtful” output.

As Bospar executive Curtis Sparrer put it: “An overwhelming majority of Americans want to work in quiet places, but they can’t do that in today’s open office environments.”

Workplace environment appears to be a hill that many employees are willing to die on—or at least take a pay cut over. According to the survey, “Eighteen percent would pursue a new job to have a workspace they like better, and 9 percent would petition to work part-time in an environment they do like.”

Amid the clamor for more collaboration, connectivity, corporate camaraderie and increased participation, companies are inevitably alienating some workers. Most, it would seem, would prefer to work in a quiet, non-distracting atmosphere. That might be the most universally desired and appreciated work perk of all.

You can learn more about Bospar’s research here.

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