Jobsandcareer.com organizes the most comprehensive job and career advice/news.
Andreas SeiboldMore people are working in offices with open designs and many glass walls. At Wray Ward's open office space in Charlotte, N.C., one of the conference rooms has a glass wall and a glass garage door.
To discuss a touchy personnel matter, David Lewis, president of OperationsInc, a Stamford, Conn., human-resources consulting company, recently met with a client in a stairwell. They were so unnerved by the sound of people opening and closing doors above and below them that they retreated to Mr. Lewis's car in the parking lot.
How can glass walls in office spaces affect the mood and productivity of employees? While they may bring more efficiency, some complain about a loss of privacy. Sue Shellenbarger has details on Lunch Break. (Photo: Wray Ward)
That's because the client worked in an open cubicle, and the only available conference rooms had glass walls. "At least no one was going to open the car door and step in," he says.
Amid a push toward openness in the workplace, more people are working in glass offices or conference rooms. Some 68% of U.S. offices have an "open plan" or "open seating" design, with the desks separated by low or no walls, according to a 2010 survey by the International Facilities Management Association, Houston. The remaining office and conference rooms are often walled in glass.
The benefits are undeniable, employers say—better communication and collaboration, lower real-estate and energy costs, more natural light and expansive outdoor views for all. Many employees say the light and openness improve their mood. At 22squared, an ad agency which moved 170 Atlanta employees into open-plan offices a year ago, pitches that used to take two to three weeks to prepare now get done in a few days, says Mike Grindell, chief administrative officer.
At Wray Ward, a Charlotte, N.C., marketing company, some...