Steelcase reveals office privacy issues

Office furniture manufacturer Steelcase has revealed that the open plan office design has gone too far, with office workers now complaining about lack of privacy.


New research from Steelcase shows that 85% of office workers are unhappy and unable to concentrate in their working environment. In fact, almost two-thirds of respondents (31%) end up leaving the office to complete work.

Steelcase UK and Ireland VP Bostjan Ljubic said: “The drive for collaborative working spaces was founded on getting people working better together. It has been enormously successful and has delivered efficiency on a major scale but too much interaction and not enough privacy has reached crisis proportions, taking a heavy toll on workers’ creativity, productivity, engagement and wellbeing.”

However, workers are not looking to work in isolation within individual offices, rather looking for more privacy within an open plan setting with less than half (41%) stating they had the opportunity to work privately.

The ideal workplace layout, according to Steelcase, would be an ‘ecosystem’ of different spaces where employees could choose the level of privacy required.

Key findings:

  • Office workers are losing 86 minutes per day due to distractions
  • Too many employees are chronically disengaged at work
  • They are unmotivated, unproductive and overly stressed
  • They have little capacity to think and work creatively and constructively
  • The right balance between private and collaborative working spaces can deliver a step change in employee engagement and productivity

London, UK