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Friday, 24 May 2013 10:34

Open-plan offices make employees 'less productive, less happy, and more likely to get sick'

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Open-plan offices may be the modern way, but new research suggests that they are not the best way.

People who work in these environments are more likely to get sick, are less productive and take more days off, reports daily mail.

Research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health revealed that people who work in open plan offices take 62 per cent more sick days than those who work in their own, enclosed space.

The study authors believe that this is because germs spread more easily in these environments.

However, Quartz reports that it could also be because open plan offices are a more stressful place to work, and being stressed increases a person’s risk of becoming unwell.

However, increased illness rates are not the only way in which workers are negatively affected by working in an open plan office.

A study carried out by researchers at Virginia State University and North Carolina State University, in the U.S., revealed that people who work in open plan offices are less productive

The research showed that these employees are less motivated, have lower job satisfaction and that they feel they lack privacy and also believe that they are also less productive because they are disturbed by the sound of other people’s conversations.

The findings of a study by Hong Kong Polytechnic University support this.

They discovered that noise and temperature are the most influential factors with conversations, ringing phones and machines being cited as the most irritating noises.

This study also revealed that people over the age of 45 are the most sensitive to disturbing noises – their productivity is affected the most by them.

Previous research suggests that even people who do not work in open plan offices suffer the ill effects of office work.

The crumbs that accumulate on your desk and in your keyboard provide a perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive, says Dr Ron Cutler, a micro- biologist at Queen Mary University of London.

The temperature in offices is typically around 20C, the point at which staphylococcus can breed, causing diarrhoea and vomiting.

For the same reason, leaving your sandwich on your desk all morning is also a risk.

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Read 2493 times Last modified on Friday, 24 May 2013 10:36

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