Office workers ‘less productive’ working with boss

55 per cent of office workers would feel more comfortable and be more productive with their departmental manager sitting away from them, new research reveals.

Office design and fit-out specialist Dale Office Interiors surveyed more than 650 members of the UK public and found that over half say they would prefer their boss to be positioned in a private officer than among the wider team.

It found that workers feel under unnecessary pressure when their manager is constantly present, leading to a drop in concentration.

In response to the question ‘would you prefer your boss to work in an open-place office with you, or be in a private office?’ 30 per cent of participants said they would ‘feel more comfortable’ with their manager in a private office. A further 25 per cent believe they would be ‘more productive’ without their manager close by.

Just 14.4 per cent say their productivity would increase if their boss were more visible within the department.

The findings come as open-plan workspaces see continued popularity, with more than eight million UK employees thought to work in this style of office.

The findings also highlight some of the benefits of open-plan working. Some 29 per cent feel they would enjoy better communication with their manager in such an environment.

The research also reveals that men report feeling more comfortable in an open-plan space while women seem to prefer working with their manager in a private office.

Age also appeared to have an impact on responses of the poll. Although employees aged 18 to 44 expressed more favour towards an open-plan scheme for reasons of both better communication and increased productivity, their 45- to 64-year-old counterparts appear to perceive their productivity as higher when their manager is in a private office.

Warren Bricknell, managing director of Dale Office Interiors, said: “The office as we have known it is becoming defunct. We need to give the users of the space – whether managers or general staff – the choice to work how and where they want to, to suit the task at the time.

“This is the way workspaces will have to go. It may be a desk or a booth, a beanbag or a conference table – but people want choice. It’s about being outcomes-driven rather than having a rigid, traditional office layout and KPIs.”

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