Connect with us


Collaboration Doesn’t Always Work

You don’t have to go very far to find the praises sung in the name of teamwork. “In unity there is strength!”, or “We’re greater than the sum of our parts”, and let’s not forget the ever-popular “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’.”

Please …

Okay, yes, being part of a team can be a good thing. Collaborations can work. But let me call attention to yet another old saying: “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.

As “Rah, rah, go team” as people can be, collaborations don’t always work. The problem is exacerbated when you throw in the deservedly-reviled open-office environment. According to the article “Students Don’t Thrive on Collaboration”, there’s been pushback.

What’s With The Open-Office Environment, Anyway?

The concept of the open-office environment started in Hamburg, Germany, in the 1950’s. The reason behind it was to make communication and the exchanging of ideas an easier matter. Okay, that makes sense on some level.

In the 90’s, the open-office craze began in earnest, with cubicles dismantled and doors and windows knocked down. “Bring in the natural light!”, the proponents said. “Stop perpetuating the hierarchal structure, and smash the barriers that separate managers from their employees!” Thankfully they stopped short of putting up posters of Marx and Lenin, and talking about the workers controlling the means of production.

This hoopla was all done for the sake of making it easier for people to work together and collaborate and brainstorm together. The ideas that would come out of these collaborations would be awesome, and awesome ideas would make the company even more awesome by helping it make good decisions! Everyone wins, right? Right?

Not exactly.

Noise Level

Many people out there need quiet in order to focus and work. Open-office environments tend to be noisy, distracting places that can make other employees lose focus, not to mention cranking up the irritation level and actually making for a more hostile work environment, not a friendlier one (“For God’s sake, Tina! How many more times must we hear ‘Let it go?’!?!?!”). People need places where they can be quiet and think.


Then there’s the challenge of how open-office environments make it easier for things like colds and flus to spread easily. “The Open Office Trap”, a piece in the New Yorker, cites a statistic showing that people who work in two-person shared offices took 50% more sick time, while workers in open offices average about 62% more sick days. Apparently, ideas aren’t the only thing spread by an open-office environment.

Lack Of Privacy

This challenge is serious enough to simply not be lumped into the noise level drawback mentioned above. From a psychological standpoint, a sense of privacy actually boosts job performance. To make matters worse, that sense of privacy comes hand in hand with the sense of a personal space that you control and can change at your whim. Having that sense of control also contributes to a sense of well-being and satisfaction, and that goes away in an open-office environment.

Sometimes, The Ideas Are Just Plain Bad

Finally, there’s the notion that always trying to tackle a problem by collaborative means doesn’t always work. Let’s face it: sometimes people have pretty terrible ideas, and yet, in these “all for one” environments where everyone is expected to contribute as well as everyone expecting their ideas to be taken seriously, teams can come up with some genuine disasters. Not every problem can be solved by teamwork, nor should it.

Again, this is not to say that all collaborations are bad. There are many advantages to working as a team sometimes, but there’s the key word: sometimes. Collaborations shouldn’t be the default way of tackling projects or problem solving, and it certainly doesn’t help when the actual office layout seems to practically force the practice on everyone.

Recent Posts

Home Improvement3 months ago

How To Add More Value To Your Home

If you have some spare cash in the bank, it is likely you would like to spend it on your...

Lifestyle3 months ago

What is a Deep Plane Facelift

Cosmetic surgery is a choice that needs a lot of research and when it comes to thinking about a facelift...

Entrepreneur3 months ago

Unveiling the Demand for Digital Marketing Courses: A Comprehensive Analysis

In recent years, the realm of marketing has undergone a seismic shift propelled by the digital revolution. As businesses increasingly...

Home Improvement3 months ago

What Does an Effective Wardrobe Spring Clean Entail?

Spring is upon us which means one thing and one thing only. It is time for the annual purge of...

Business5 months ago

Your Basic Guide To Creating A Unique Investment Blog

Starting your own blog is great and once you get the ball rolling, it can be a good passive income...

Business5 months ago

3 Low-Risk Ways To Get Your New Business Started

Once you’ve got an initial business idea and believe that it will be a success, there are some basic things...

Lifestyle5 months ago

Conquering the Co-free Zone: Tips for Thriving as a Remote Worker

Adjusting to an office environment can come with its downfalls in the sense that it might be a shock to...

General6 months ago

3 Ways To Take Control Of Your Finances Starting Now

If your finances have taken over and are bringing stress to your life, we understand just how overwhelming it can...

Travel8 months ago

Best Places To Visit In The North Of England

If you live in England, you will know there are many different places to visit for the weekend. There are...

General8 months ago

Green Home Improvement Ideas

In a world where environmental concerns are growing, the concept of “green” has gone beyond a trendy catchphrase and is...

Lifestyle8 months ago

How to Host an Unforgettable House-Warming!

The time has finally come. You have moved into your dream pad, and are officially adulting in your very own...

Autos8 months ago

A Guide to Parking Lot Striping

The journey to a well-striped parking lot begins with the right paint. In this brief guide, we’ll unravel the mystery...

Business11 months ago

Business Tips For Protecting Your Finances During A Recession

In 2023, taking the necessary steps to protect your finances for your business is now more important than ever. The...

Lifestyle11 months ago

Tips For Cleaning Your Trainers

If you’re into your trainers and streetwear, you’re likely to be very conscious of keeping them looking their best! So,...

Marketing1 year ago

Branding Trends For Start-Ups in 2023

Branding is incredibly important as it impacts how your business reaches and connects with its target market. If you’re branding...