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Working in an Open Plan Office can Make You Sick

General Comments May 14th 2012

Reconfiguring an office can sometimes be the one of the most stressful and complicated exercises in a working environment. Lots of important decisions have to be taken into account. For example, should you go for the open plan concept or stick with cubicle workstations? Should it implement a “teleworking” system where by employees work from home or “hotelling” where staff no longer have their own office, but reserve a generic workstation ahead of time.

Many people are opting for open plan systems and this is supported by a lot of office furniture manufacturers. It is not about trying to save money on cheap office furniture anymore, it’s all about trying to increase staff morale and productivity. Unfortunately, a report that was published in the 2008 Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management found that open-plan environments actually caused a few problems in the work place.

Some of these problems included loss of privacy, identity health issues, low job satisfaction and even social overstimulation. The reason for this is that currently people who are seated to closely together can suffer from physiological or psychological problems, for example stress, fatigue and increased blood pressure levels. Experts studying this have come up with the name “sardine rage” which best describes this phenomenon.

The reason that more and more companies are resorting to open plan offices is the space that they will save. In this current climate, saving space is one of the most appealing moves by companies with some of the larger businesses being able to save up to 25 per cent, you can see that this is an attractive concept. In reality, before you get rid of your office furniture, you should seriously think about the effect it will have on your employees.

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