State of the Open Office: Stegmeier Consulting Group Workplace Research Study

Findings Revealed From SCG’s State of the Open Office Research Study

Thank You!

in 2016, Stegmeier Consulting Group concluded our latest research study, the State of the Open Office, with the intent of tracking reasons for employee resistance to open plans and the overall trend of open office implementation. Of the nearly 500 respondents (spanning 6 continents), approximately 200 provided a business email, allowing us to determine a representative workforce size of over 5.5 million employees.

Our Report

We conducted this study with the goal of injecting pertinent data and real voices into a workplace conversation that is increasingly deluged with sensationalist (The Open Office is the Devil) thought-pieces. Today, we’d like to share our findings with you. Please visit the research section of our site to download a PDF copy of our report.

Key Findings

As a preview, we’d like to highlight a few particularly salient findings:

First, our study revealed the top three concerns about working in an open plan: 1) audible distractions, 2) a lack of audible privacy, and 3) uninvited interruptions from coworkers.

For individuals who recently moved to an open plan, the top annoyance was uninvited interruptions, which makes sense in that once workstation partitions are lowered or removed, coworkers often naturally perceive their colleagues to be available for collaboration, simply because they are now more visible.

Speaking of breaking down walls, it’s not just individual contributors shifting to a more open plan. The trend revealed in this study indicates a future shift to assigned and unassigned open workstations by all levels of organizations, including senior leaders and executives. The chart below (one of many in the full report) shows how overall plans are expected to evolve moving forward.

That’s great, but what are some practical solutions for overcoming the challenges of an open plan???  As consultants who help our clients transition their workforce to more open work environments, we think it’s important for us to practice what we preach. SCG’s Work Lab is an open concept office with unassigned seating where we experiment with different products and behavioral solutions. Check out our Work Lab page and see our Tips for Working in an Open Office Plan!

Client Spotlight: Time Inc.Time Inc., owner of iconic media brands such as People, Sports Illustrated, and Travel + Leisure, recently moved into its new HQ in Lower Manhattan. Be sure to check out the change management case study on our site, and see how at this media giant, the employees made the rules when it comes to conduct in their new open office!

Our Research…How do studies like the State of the Open Office help our clients? First, research can provide qualitative and quantitative data that can guide decision-making processes throughout a workplace change initiative. Next, these reports help shape our future deliverables to make sure we can address resistance to these changes effectively.

We Can Help…SCG routinely works with clients who are in different stages of their workplace journey. Whether you are three years out and trying to determine your future workplace strategy or if you’ve already decided upon a strategy, and now need to implement your vision, we can help. And if you’re in a new space which hasn’t gone according to plan, we can right the ship! Contact us today to learn how we can assist with your workplace transformation.

Stegmeier Consulting Group
70 Front Street
Suite 200
Berea, OH 44017