Door May Be Closing on Open Offices

Survey of Tech Tenants Shows Planned Drop in Fully Open Layouts

By: Lynn Ettinger

After years of debate about their value, open-office layouts may be on the way out. Less than half of technology tenants surveyed by Savills, a global real estate services provider, said they plan to keep their fully open layouts. Before COVID-19, nearly 90% of tech organizations had mostly open-office or entirely open-office workplace layouts, and many of those users are still considering how their workplace planning will look going forward, according to the report.

Savills surveyed about 250 tech firms in the U.S. and U.K. in August and September. Forty-six percent of respondents said their organizations used fully open space with benching and cubicles before COVID-19. But only 22% of tenants surveyed said they expected to retain their open-space design. Respondents with a mix of open and some private offices dropped from 43% using the model before the pandemic to 33% planning to keep it.

Silicon Valley firms were among the early adopters of open offices, saying the layout would encourage innovation, collaboration, and communication, according to Entrepreneur.com. Since then, a growing body of research has shown the design may have the opposite effect.

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