If you hate your job, the layout of your office may be to blame.

New research has found that, far from creating an cooperative environment, open plan offices can make employees miserable.

The study found that staff that work in an open environment are distracted, irritated and find it difficult to have a good conversation with colleagues, according to the Daily Mail.

Previous research has also claimed that office workers are more easily distracted when they share space with others.


The study was carried out by researchers from the CTF, Service Research Centre at Karlstad University in Sweden.

They looked at the link between the type of office and the satisfaction levels of staff.

Dr Tobias Otterbring, lead author of the study, said: "The results show a negative relationship between the number of co-workers sharing an office and employees' job satisfaction."

The researchers looked at two factors in office workers - ease of interaction with their peers and general well-being.

The study found that employees working in small (3-9 people) and medium-sized (10-20 people) open plan offices reported lower levels of both of these aspects than individuals who work in a different type of office.

"The open plan offices may have short-term financial benefits, but these benefits may be substantially lower than the costs associated with decreased job satisfaction and well-being.

"Therefore, decision-makers should consider the impact of a given office type on employees rather than focusing solely on cost-effective office layout, flexibility, and productivity," Dr Otterbring added.

As well as lower levels of job satisfaction, open plan office workers are interrupted every three minutes, a futurologist has claimed.


This is according to Dr Nicole Millard, who specialises in data, analytics and emerging technology at BT.

She believes large offices are inefficient and predicts they will die out, according to reports in The Telegraph.

They are particularly damaging for introverted employees, who prefer to work uninterrupted and who may clam up in crowds.

For the ethos behind open plan offices to work, boosting morale and encouraging teamwork, staff need to be sat close to the people they regularly collaborate with.

But the futurologists says research has shown that social awkwardness can kick in if people are crammed too close together.

Dr Millard said: "The trouble with open plan offices is they are a one-size-fits-all model which actually fits nobody.

"We're interrupted every three minutes. It takes us between eight and 20 minutes to get back into that thought process.

"So we will become shoulder bag workers. Our technology has shrunk so we can literally get our office in a small bag.

"We are untethered, we don't have to have a desk anymore."

Dr Millard believes inundation with emails, meetings and other interactions with colleagues are among the chief causes of distraction.

This can lead to "task-switching", which often results in work being overlooked or forgotten.

One sign of this is when you shut down your computer at the end of the day and find unclosed windows or unsent emails you didn't get around to, because you were interrupted.

So does this spell the end for all office based jobs?

Dr Millard believes not, as socialising and teamwork will still be a necessary part of work in the future.

However, we may have to reconsider what we view as an office space.

She added: "We need a balance between we and me.

"We need to give people options of how they can work, such as home working.

"But I do go a tiny bit nuts if I am just at home, so I think we will start to embrace 'the coffice".

"I need good coffee, connectivity, cake, my WiFi wings to fly me into the cloud.

"I like company. The 'coffice' could be a coffee shop or a hotel lobby."

The latest study was recently published in Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health.