(28 September 2018) A recent paper in Philosophical Transactions B looking at the impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration has achieved The Royal Society’s highest Altmetric score to date in a very short time. Here we look at the background to this paper and ask what we learn from this. The study by Ethan Bernstein at Harvard Business School and Stephen Turban from Harvard University used new technology to track behaviour in an office before and after the space was made more ‘open’.
They found that, following the change, the volume of face-to-face interaction decreased significantly (~70%), with an associated increase in electronic interaction. Rather than prompting increasingly vibrant face-to-face collaboration as intended, a transition to open architecture appeared to trigger a natural human response to socially withdraw from officemates and interact electronically instead.
The Royal Society Publishing Blog has the full story by Helen Eaton.