It’s just as I suspected, open plan offices increase the likelihood of you getting ill, being stressed and becoming aggressive. They don’t work! As your blood pressure goes up your productivity goes down. And whilst there may be those who like the opportunities for ‘social grazing’ that an open plan provides, it often leads to grazing elsewhere as they are also associated with increased staff turnover. The long and the short of it is that you need to feel safe in your space – it’s all very primitive really – and perhaps (tampering) with space really is the final frontier.
There are a number of reviews of the impact of open plan offices that show negative health and psychological effects. Here’s one of the most comprehensive:
Oommen, V. G., Knowles, M., and Zhao, I. (2008). Should Health Service Managers Embrace Open Plan Work Environments? A Review. Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management, 3(2). pp. 37-43.