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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Do you lack privacy at work?

My co-workers can hear my conversations. If I field a call from a child who needs homework help or my husband who might be having a bad day, my co-workers know my business. But of course, I know about their personal lives, too. It turns those of us in offices are closer than we've every been - literally.
A new study shows are work spaces are shrinking and only about a third of workers have private offices. Today, the space allocated to an executive office is 241 square feet, down from 291 twenty years ago. That's lavish compared to today’s senior professional, who must make do with about 98 square feet, or the call center employee who is typically assigned around 50. Predictably, the vast majority of workers (like me) toil in cubicles (59 percent), while 7 percent work in open areas with no partitions, according to a study by the International Facility Management Association
What's the deal? It turns out our individual space has been squeezed to to help the common good: some parts of our offices have become bigger - the space for our conference, training and break out areas has increased more than 17 percent. “If we can’t meet in an individual workspace, whether open or private then we have to go somewhere,'' says Melodee Wagen, president of Workspace Strategies Inc. in Lexington, Mass.
With less privacy, you would think more workers would retreat to home offices or coffee shops. Many do. But the study shows there are more people than ever working from office buildings. So the question is how close is too close to work together?


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