Open Office Fail

January 11, 2020

Risk management in global financial services enterprises is necessarily a highly collaborative exercise.  Effective managers understand and nurture this foundational characteristic of our mission.

…And then there are the Open Office pushers.  My experience with mainstream open office workplace religion over the last ten years or so has been, well, not something that I would like to go through again.  It seems like managers caught up in Open Office echo chamber must be driven by a range of motivations that express themselves in an odd mix of xkcd irony and dilbert-speak.

I just read an essay on the effectiveness of Open Office workplace environments.  The authors appear to do a reasonable job collecting and analyzing real & relevant data to support their observation that:

When the firms switched to open offices, face-to-face interactions fell by 70%.
Ethan Bernstein & Ben Waber in The Truth About Open Offices.

Regardless of your opinions on this topic, if you are in the risk management business, you have to understand the value of effective collaboration and the need to protect it from forces that undermine it.  Bernstein & Waber’s work on this topic is well worth your attention.  Read it now:


The Truth About Open Offices.
By Ethan Bernstein & Ben Waber
From the November–December 2019 Issue of Harvard Business Review


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