Why Open-Office Spaces Don’t Work (and What Does)

Karl R. LaPan President & CEO, The NIIC

There is a lot of noise out there today that what entrepreneurs, innovators and road warriors want and need are open-office spaces. While open-office spaces may be trendy, they are generally more trouble than they are worth. In fact, as one 1980 journal article describes it, it’s a violation of “psychological privacy.” Other sources corroborate this claim. For example, a 1982 survey of 649 workers in open offices found the claim that open office sets up boost productivity to be baseless.

There’s more data that points to the same conclusion. The findings of a 2013 study indicated that employees in open-office formats experience distractions that can impact productivity and performance. They cited such annoyances as lack of sound privacy and visual privacy. Contrary to popular belief, these workers complained that interactions with fellow employees suffered in an open-office setting.

The New Yorker even entered the debate, concluding that the open-office setting seems to cancel out the effects of team building and weakens work performance. While employees might feel initially energized by the innovative approach, ultimately, they lose in terms of attention spans, productivity, creative thinking and job satisfaction. Health even enters into the equation, as workers are more prone to contracting illness in tighter quarters.

Even the Washington Post published a detailed account describing why Google got it wrong and concluded that “the open-office trend is destroying the workplace.”

Despite these conclusions, why does the myth of an open office setting as a hub of activity perpetuate? It’s mainly a vestige of the 1970’s office. It’s also a bottom line issue. Such floor plans are also great for maximizing a company’s space while keeping costs down. Supervisors also relish the opportunity to keep a more watchful eye on subordinates.

While these concerns are valid, the cons outweigh the pros. Luckily there are other options beyond the traditional office environment. The NIIC has a variety of office space solutions to meet the needs of aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators and serious business-builders. Using our workspace philosophy of A2TF – architecture, artistic expression, technology and furnishings create an inspired workplace- The NIIC has created a variety of workspaces to meet the needs and demands of our clients including business incubation, growth acceleration, emerging growth and coworking allowing you to “flex” your space as your needs and business requirements change.

Our coworking space at the NIIC can ease some of the stress of starting a new business and provide valuable resources and connections you won’t find anywhere else but the real value is in the assisted serendipity: the informal conversations and the expert advice members are happy to offer one other another and the business support services that provide a terrific safety net when your business, idea and you are most vulnerable.

NIIC’s coworking space is called Professional Flex-Space because we believe it can change people lives. We benchmarked the best shared office spaces in the country and designed our spaces to be among the best. For you that translates into accelerated productivity, an enjoyable & engaged social community, and non-stop “can do” energy. Besides your office space, we also load you up with tons of good stuff. Coworking at the NIIC offers the following additional amenities:

  •  Wi-Fi in our common areas and wired high speed Internet in your office space
  • The ability to choose from and reserve up to four conference rooms for your private client meetings or workshops.
  • Complimentary gourmet coffee.
  • Lockable storage, so you don’t have to lug your belongings back and forth.
  • Keycard security, for safe 24/7/365 access – come and go whenever you like.
  • Kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave.
  • Comfortable easy chair conversation pits.
  • Complimentary parking right in front of your door.
  • A business mailing SUCCESS address.

For more information, contact Mike Fritsch, Director-Revenue Development. You are just a few short steps away from legitimizing your business venture and joining our amazing entrepreneurial community!


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