'The open office has a lot of critics these days. But it remains the dominant form of workplace design for a reason: It can foster collaboration, promote learning, and nurture a strong culture. It's the right idea; unfortunately, it's often poorly executed - even as a way to support collaboration.
Organizations responded by shifting their real estate allocations towards open spaces that support collaboration and shrinking areas for individual work. But the pendulum may have swung too far: Our research now suggests that once again, people feel a pressing need for more privacy, not only to do heads-down work but to cope with the intensity of how work happens today.
While privacy means different things in different cultures, our study showed that workplace satisfaction and engagement are deeply connected to a sense of control over one's environment.
As organizations come to understand the need for privacy at work, they must also recognize that privacy does not compromise collaboration. By improving privacy you can actually enrich and strengthen collaborative activities.
Open offices are not inherently good or bad. The key to successful workspaces is to empower individuals by giving them choices that allow control over their work environment.'