Harvard Business Review: The Truth About Open Offices


Ben Waber, PhD (President and Co-Founder of Humanyze) partnered up with Ethan Bernstein, PhD (Harvard Business School Professor) to discuss the unintended consequences of business-driven designed spaces in an article titled “The Truth About Open Offices” published by the Harvard Business Review.

It’s never been easier for workers to collaborate—or so it seems. Open, flexible, activity-based spaces are displacing cubicles, making people more visible. Messaging is displacing phone calls, making people more accessible. Enterprise social media such as Slack and Microsoft Teams are displacing watercooler conversations, making people more connected. Virtual-meeting software such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Webex is displacing in-person meetings, making people ever-present. The architecture of collaboration has not changed so quickly since technological advances in lighting and ventilation made tall office buildings feasible, and one could argue that it has never before been so efficient. Designing workplaces for interaction between two or more individuals—or collaboration, from the Latin collaborare, meaning to work together—has never seemed so easy…
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