Four years ago, Chris Nagele did what many other technology executives have done before — he moved his team into an open concept office.
His staff had been exclusively working from home, but he wanted everyone to be together, to bond and collaborate more easily. It quickly became clear, though, that Nagele had made a huge mistake. Everyone was distracted, productivity suffered and the nine employees were unhappy, not to mention Nagele himself.
In April 2015, about three years after moving into the open office, Nagele moved the company into a 10,000-square foot office where everyone now has their own space — complete with closing doors.
Numerous companies have embraced the open office — about 70% of US offices are open concept — and by most accounts, very few have moved back into traditional spaces with offices and doors. But research that we’re 15% less productive, we have immense trouble concentrating and we’re twice as likely to get sick in open working spaces, has contributed to a growing backlash against open offices.
Since moving, Nagele himself has heard from others in technology who say they long for the closed office lifestyle. “Many people agree — they can’t stand the open office,” he says. “They never get anything done and have to do more work at home.”
It’s unlikely that the open office concept will go away anytime soon, but some companies are following Nagele’s example and making a return to private spaces