In The Rise of the New Groupthink, Susan Cain rightly criticizes the blind followers of the ‘collaboration’ fad - especially those who opt for the physical embodiment, an open-plan office:
…it’s one thing to associate with a group in which each member works autonomously on his piece of the puzzle; it’s another to be corralled into endless meetings or conference calls conducted in offices that afford no respite from the noise and gaze of co-workers. Studies show that open-plan offices make workers hostile, insecure and distracted. They’re also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, stress, the flu and exhaustion. And people whose work is interrupted make 50 percent more mistakes and take twice as long to finish it.
If you want to have an impact, you need all your employees to be at the top of their game. And allowing them to do their jobs effectively, in the environment each needs to concentrate, create and build, first means hearing their needs and not disregarding the empirical.
And the other side of the open-plan office? No privacy = a lack of trust. What a morale killer.