Open Offices for Agile Teams May Be Bad for Workers

Most agile development teams work in open office environments, which improve communication, collaboration, and teamwork. However, several new studies suggest that theses layouts may actually be harmful for the developers who work in them. One study found that moving to an open office space caused a 32 percent drop in workers’ well-being and 15 percent decrease in productivity. Another found that 90 percent of open offices caused higher levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure and high staff turnover.

Some say that the solution could be having a combination of open and private spaces available for development teams. Blogger Dave Nicolette advises a mix of “the open or bullpen sort of space (where we would do pair programming, for instance); semiprivate spaces for brainstorming or sitting/reading; and private spaces (which may be shared, hotel-style) for making personal phone calls, one-on-one discussions, and so forth.”

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