This interesting article has many fascination points on the history of office design, but it is no surprise that they state the number one driver for current office design is: technology. Past office design revolved around workers sitting at desks with pens and paper -- today's work space should look and feel very different.
Read the whole article here.
"....Office designers have been trying to adapt offices for decades to better suit the nature of work, as well as meet company demands for cost-cutting and integrating new technology. Over the 20th century, the most popular office design has evolved from rows of offices with doors, to an open plan designed to facilitate collaboration, to the cubicle, back to an open office plan, and now to more mixed-used spaces."
"......The way we think about working has had a huge influence on office design: Whether companies are trying to encourage collaboration, preserve employee privacy, or reward their upper-level managers. But there are other factors that have guided the shifts in office design – namely, technological development and cost concerns."
The primary issue with open office plans is that there are so many visual and audio distractions that can interrupt worker focus. In a study of 90,000 people from 155 companies, Gensler found that individual focus was the most important factor in an employee’s effectiveness in the workplace. The company also found that focus was the activity least effectively supported by current office design."