There is growing enthusiasm of replacing private offices with open floor plans in order to encourage a culture of community and collaboration on the job.
Casual interactions among employees are intended to promote trust, cooperation and innovation.
But because open spaces reduce privacy, they may not foster the informal exchanges intended.
A space may or may not encourage interaction, depending on how it balances the three dimensions that have both physical and social aspects:
The most effective form of workspaces brings people together and removes barriers while providing sufficient privacy so people don’t fear being overheard or interrupted.
In addition, workplaces should reinforce permission to convene and speak freely. And leaders should act as models of the desired behaviour if casual conversation is to be encouraged.