NPR

Just How 'Open' Are Open Office Plans?

Open offices are designed to encourage more effective collaboration. But many people who work in them choose to isolate themselves instead.
Open offices are designed to encourage more effective collaboration. But many people who work in them choose to isolate themselves instead. (Venveo/Unsplash)

Open office plans are designed to encourage people to collaborate and communicate more effectively. But many people who work in these environments choose to isolate themselves instead, by wearing headphones and communicating through email and instant messaging services rather than talking in person.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with Ethan Bernstein (@ethanbernstein), an associate professor at Harvard Business School, about a recent study he co-authored on open office plans.

“They’re very common. They’ve gone through ebbs and flows over the history of time,” Bernstein says. “They were very, very popular, say, in the ’60s and ’70s. They got a little bit less popular after that, and

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