For the first time, scientists have measured what actually happens with face-to-face interactions when employees start to work at an open-plan office - and their results show these modern workspaces are not as collaborative as you'd think. 在开放式办公室工作真的能增加面对面交流吗？科学家首次对此展开了研究，结果显示，这种现代办公室并不像你想的那样能够增进合作。 Two researchers from Harvard Business School and Harvard University wanted to empirically test whether removing walls at a real-world workplace really does increase interactions between co-workers. "To our knowledge, no prior study has directly measured the effect on actual interaction that results from removing spatial1 boundaries to create an open office environment," Ethan S. Bernstein and Stephen Turban write in the paper. To that end, they approached two multinational2 companies that were re-organising their office spaces at the global headquarters, and enlisted3 small groups of employees for two studies. For eight weeks before the office redesign and eight weeks afterward4, the researchers tracked employees' social interactions using sociometric badges, and location using Bluetooth sensors5. This data was analysed together with email and instant messaging info from the company's servers to measure differences in how people were communicating with each other. What they found was a pretty staggering difference in face-to-face interactions - but not in the direction you might think. Across both experiments, employees' social interactions in person decreased by a crazy 70 percent, while emails saw an uptick by roughly 20 to 50 percent. So, instead of spending more time "collaborating6" with co-workers in the sprawling7 new space where everyone could see them, people got their heads down and tried to preserve their privacy any way they could (hello, huge headphones). According to these results, it appears that being forced into a more open-plan environment can make people switch from chatting to others in person to sending an email or using instant messaging instead. As the team notes, it's not automatically a negative thing, but it can certainly change work dynamics8 in an unexpected way. "That can have profound consequences for how - and how productively - work gets done," the researchers conclude.