Why open office design makes you less productive

Aytekin Tank
The Startup
Published in
5 min readOct 12, 2018


Originally published on JOTFORM.COM

525,000 square feet

300 million dollars

3,000 employees

1 open office

You’ve probably heard about the recent expansion of Facebook’s Menlo Park campus. The new building, MK21, designed by Canadian starchitect Frank Gehry, is the pinnacle of today’s open office design trend.

For years, the open office design was touted as the new and improved workplace architecture.

If the late 90s brought us Office Space style — dismal workspaces framed by lifeless, beige cubicle walls — the 21st century ushered in bright, airy open-plan offices.

Like unlimited snacks and craft coffee on tap, the open office concept seemed revolutionary — bound to improve the quality of an employee’s work experience.

Aesthetics aside, managers imagined that open offices would increase interactions between colleagues, and enhance cooperation and productivity.

Speaking about Facebook’s previous office building, MK20, also a Gehry-designed open office, Facebook’s then Chief People Officer said,

“It really creates an environment where people can collaborate; they can innovate together. There’s a lot of spontaneity in the way people bump into each other, just a really fun collaborative creative space.”

Apparently, even CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a designated place somewhere in the sea of desks. (Kudos to Zuckerberg for practicing what he preaches, if he does, in fact, work in the open office.)

Though the hype associated with open office spaces may make another day at the office seem a lot more appealing, the reality of these transparent offices — in terms of employee interaction and productivity — is a lot less clear.

The truth about open office design

More collaboration or more distraction?

The loud talker three desks down; constant taps on the shoulder; the guy who incessantly clicks his pen; the…



Aytekin Tank
The Startup

Founder and CEO of www.jotform.com || Bestselling author of Automate Your Busywork. Find more at https://aytekintank.com/ (contact: AytekinTank@Jotform.com)