About Dr Caroline M. Burns

Posts by Dr Caroline M. Burns:

Are open plan workspaces truly evil or is this just fake news?

Are open plan workspaces truly evil or is this just fake news?

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A recently published paper describing the results of an academic study by Ethan S. Bernstein and Stephen Turban[1], both of Harvard, has become another unwarranted casualty of the debate within our industry and in the mainstream media on ‘open plan’ offices versus anything else. The researchers conducted two controlled studies in different organisations before and after a workplace refurbishment from dedicated cubicles to dedicated open plan (benching) neighbourhoods, and concluded that face to face interaction reduced significantly, while email and other digital communications increased in the new environment.

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Why a Google office simply does not work for everybody

Why a Google office simply does not work for everybody 0

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The open plan office versus closed debate rages on, and rather than running out of steam in the face of all of the evidence and reasoned argument put forward one one side or the other by many industry thought-leaders, it seems to have nine lives. Those grand and ground-breaking  new offices occupied by the world’s tech giants seem to be particularly popular examples of why highly open and transparent workplaces do, or don’t work, especially those headline-grabbing offices created around the world by Google. This public debate has led to some very interesting and insightful discussions in various forums (to which I have contributed), inspiring me to synthesise the key themes into four reasons why a Google office is not necessarily the right type of office for your organisation. Many thanks in particular are due to David Rostie and Kay Sargent for their valuable online contributions to the debates which inspired this article.

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