A site devoted to discussing techniques that promote quality and ethical practices in software development.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Open Office Plan leads to lower productivity

Recently an article cited some research concludes that:
"In 90 per cent of the research, the outcome of working in an open-plan office was seen as negative, with open-plan offices causing high levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure, and a high staff turnover.

"The high level of noise causes employees to lose concentration, leading to low productivity, there are privacy issues because everyone can see what you are doing on the computer or hear what you are saying on the phone, and there is a feeling of insecurity.''

This is not a startling result because Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister had reported similar finding way back in the '80 and they concluded that:
Workers who reported before the exercise that their workplace was acceptably quiet were 0ne-third more likely to deliver zero-defect work.
Furthermore, Tom and Timonthy discovered, at that time,
The advocates of the new format produced not one shred of evidence that effectiveness would not impaired.
One digging around published data, they found the following justification for open plan office:
The fundamental areas of consideration in designing an open-plan office within an information processing environment are: the system's electrical distribution capabilities, computer support capabilities and manufacturer and dealer service.
In other words, open-plan was not designed for the benefit of human and is still is not even today!

"Peopleware - Productive Projects and Teams, 2nd Edition" by Tom Demarco & Timonthy Lister, 1999, Dorset House Publishing Co. Inc. Part II, Chapter 9

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