Want to keep your workers healthy, happy and productive? A new Queensland study says it could be as easy as rearranging the furniture – and no they’re not referring to feng shui.
Workers in open-plan offices are “more likely to experience high levels of stress, conflict and blood pressure leading to a high turnover of staff” according to Dr Vinesh Oommen, Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
“It has been found that 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.
“There is also a higher chance of workplace conflicts – sitting so close to someone that each time their phone rings you can get irritated. I think most of us, including myself, can relate to that,” he said.
According to Dr Oommen 90 per cent of the research found the effects of working in open-plan offices were negative, leading him to conclude that small, private, closed offices are better for productivity.
“The question for employers is, ‘Do you want happy workers, or a high staff turnover and high absenteeism?’,” he said.
Dr Oommen’s study was published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Health Management.
Source – Nic MacBean, ABC News, January 13, 2009