NPR

Just How 'Open' Are Open Office Plans?

Open offices are designed to encourage more effective collaboration. But many people who work in them choose to isolate themselves instead.
Open offices are designed to encourage more effective collaboration. But many people who work in them choose to isolate themselves instead. (Venveo/Unsplash)

Open office plans are designed to encourage people to collaborate and communicate more effectively. But many people who work in these environments choose to isolate themselves instead, by wearing headphones and communicating through email and instant messaging services rather than talking in person.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with Ethan Bernstein (@ethanbernstein), an associate professor at Harvard Business School, about a recent study he co-authored on open office plans.

“They’re very common. They’ve gone through ebbs and flows over the history of time,” Bernstein says. “They were very, very popular, say, in the ’60s and ’70s. They got a little bit less popular after that, and

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR6 min readSociety
Do You Need That Surgery? How To Decide, And How To Pick A Surgeon If You Do
When you have a serious health problem that calls for surgery, the last thing you need is the stress of navigating the health care system to find a skilled surgeon. We have tips to make it easier.
NPR3 min read
Pumpsie Green, 1st Black Player On The Boston Red Sox, Dies At 85
The Boston Red Sox were the last Major League Baseball team to integrate, some 12 years after Jackie Robinson played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
NPR1 min read
U.S. Navy Ship Destroys Iranian Drone Over Strait Of Hormuz
President Trump says the drone had closed to approximately 1,000 yards of the U.S. warship, "ignoring multiple calls to stand down."