Research: Open offices actually reduce productivity and interaction

Open offices with “open” workspaces without walls and partitions – are a trend nowadays, but this can actually reduce employee productivity and collaboration, according to a study. new rescue.

Open offices account for up to 70% of US workspaces

Since Google, Yahoo, eBay, Goldman Sachs and other big companies in the US started to “eradicate” the gap between departments and offices “open” without barriers has become a trend of the world. Currently, up to 70% of the offices in the US are open offices.

Open offices are said to create convenience and closeness among employees, increase communication and sharing, and also significantly reduce office space and costs.

In Vietnam, the majority of companies’ newly opened headquarters are in the form of open offices.

However, an open office does not necessarily bring the expected effect.

A serious study of open office

Employees at the top Fortune 500 multinational companies find that face-to-face interaction time is reduced by about 70%, email usage increases from 22% to 50%, and productivity decreases after office space transmits. their system switched to open office forms. The new findings, published in the Proceedings of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that the removal of physical barriers actually makes it difficult to promote cooperation and teamwork among employees.

According to Harvard authors Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban, many companies have tried to create vibrant workspaces. But “the result is that employees in the open office choose to isolate themselves (for example, by wearing large earphones) while trying to be as busy as possible (because everyone can see them). . “

Prior to research, staff surveys and the press showed that employees disliked open architecture trends. Workers complain about noise, distraction, reduced productivity, loss of privacy and a feeling of being “scrutinized”. Above all, studies have suggested that open offices are not good for health.

However, Bernstein and Turban believe that, until now, there is not enough data on changes in employee behaviors in open spaces. To find out this data, they called for the collaboration of employees in two large companies that were about to change the model from a traditional closed office to non-partitioned spaces.

In the first company, code-named OpenCo1, researchers tracked the activity of 52 employees for 15 days before redesigning the office, 15 days after redesigning the office for 3 months. The 3-month period allows employees from sales, human resources, technology, product development, and leadership to stabilize their new work environment. .

Employees are allowed to wear a card with a set of sensors to monitor their movements and movements: an infrared camera detecting them meeting other people, a microphone recording the exchange, a meter. Speed ​​record their movements, a Bluetooth sensor monitors their position in the office.

When the infrared camera detects that employees have face-to-face interaction, the microphone records the change in voice, and monitors the position to show employees close to each other. The interaction ends when any of these conditions stops for 5 seconds. Researchers also track employee communication with other electronic devices.

At the end of the study, the researchers collected 96,778 data of face-to-face interaction, 84,026 emails and 25,692 text messages.

The results were astounding

After redesigning the office in an open way, employees spent 72% less time on face-to-face interactions with colleagues. The data showed that employees spent 5.8 hours a day on face-to-face interaction before the office was redesigned, but after the office was redesigned, they spent only 1.7 hours per day to Interactive face to face. At the same time, the interaction by electronic means is also increasing, workers send 56% more emails and 67% more messages to colleagues.

Company executives also qualitatively shared that productivity among employees – measured by internal indicators (not disclosed) – also dropped. However, they do not disclose the extent of productivity decline.

The researchers then replicated the study with the second anonymous company, codenamed OpenCo2. But this time they deployed with more employees and followed them for a longer time. Specifically, 100 employees were observed for 8 weeks before the office was redesigned and for 8 weeks after the office was redesigned 2 months. The researchers also gathered information on pairs of colleagues who had interacted regularly with each other as well as their characteristics including gender, job position, and desk position.

The researchers received results very similar to those obtained from OpenCo1. The time for face-to-face interaction decreased from 67% to 71% at OpenCo2, depending on the researchers analyzing the data of colleagues and the distance of the desk. And emails have increased from 22% to 50%. (Researchers do not monitor text messages for this company.) Unsurprisingly, workers with desks close to each other or working in the same group interacted more with each other, but the number of interactions was smaller than expected. Gender does not affect the level of employee interaction.

In summary, the researchers concluded that removing the walls was counterproductive. They speculate that the reason is that workers need to be limited in their interoperability, and need hard boundaries to help them become aware of their surroundings.

Privacy can also be a major reason. The researchers said that:

One of the basic human desires is to be private and previous studies have shown that privacy can increase productivity. While an open office architecture makes it possible for people to monitor each other or “be transparent,” it can reduce interaction [face to face], because employees find ways to protect their privacy, for example by selecting another channel of communication.

But perhaps it is worth emphasizing that researchers and business owners have yet to find a way to build a desirable work environment that enhances creativity and collective intelligence. Obviously, breaking down physical walls in the office is not a good idea.

Genetic calculations: It takes too long for apes to evolve into humans

The theory of evolution has been codified by Charles Darwin since 1838. Two books, Origin of Species (Origin of Species, 1859) and Human Ancestry (Descent of Man, 1871) are his explanations of species formation and human formation based on natural selection.

Modern evolutionary theory today (also called modern synthesis of general theory) is considered to be a combination of theories and evidence in many scientific disciplines such as biology, biochemistry, paleontology. biology, anthropology, genetics, archeology, physics, cosmology …

Genetic theories and the discovery of genomes, DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) and the coding and genetic mechanisms in the biological world are said to “patch a dangerous loophole of ban theory. Darwin’s head, “making evolutionary theory” more and more solid “to explain the origins of species and mankind.

According to evolutionary theory, anthropologists today determine that, about 5-7 million years ago, humans (Homo) and African chimpanzees (Chimpanzee) were separated from a common ancestor, hominids ( Hominini – according to 12th grade Biology textbook, Education Publishing House). So far, this African chimpanzee is considered to be the closest relative to modern humans.

According to the theory of evolution, humans and chimpanzees share the same ancestry (hominids), from 5-7 million years ago (photo:
Let’s use our genetic knowledge to try to determine how long it takes for the common ancestors of humans and chimpanzees to evolve into humans?

Currently, the fossils believed to be from human apes are extremely limited. And it is also impossible to find genetic and DNA information in fossilized relics.

So, in theory, it is impossible to calculate the time of evolution from hominids to modern humans genetically. However, because chimpanzees and humans have been of the same ancestor since ancient times, and have experienced the same evolutionary time, almost in the same natural conditions, we can assume that the differences The transmission between chimpanzees and humans is possibly smaller than the difference between humans (or chimpanzees) and apes. Thus the theoretical time for chimpanzees to evolve into humans (if possible) can be considered to be shorter or equal to the time that apes evolved into humans.

So, how long does it take to evolve from chimpanzee to human?

DNA is the molecule carrying genetic information coding for the activities of growth, development, function and reproduction of organisms. It is thought to be a double helix consisting of two nucleotide circuits. Nucledotides are made up of one of four types of nuclebase (nucleobase). Genetic information is encoded by the sequence of four nucleobases attached to each single strand of DNA. In humans there are a total of about 3.2 billion pairs of single nucleotides.

Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium was created by the Chimpanzee genome project. This is a collaborative project between research units around the world, bringing together dozens of scientists to study, analyze and compare the differences between chimpanzee genomes and humans. In January 2005, based on the analysis and comparison of 2.4 billion nucleobase pairs out of nearly 3.2 billion nucleobase pairs of humans and chimpanzees, the organization’s report determined that there were between 40 and 45. million nucleobase pair positions (40-45 Mb) correspond to about 1.23% of the different pairs of single nucleotides in the DNA sequence of chimpanzees and humans, and there are about 90 million insert / delete events corresponding to about 3 % of genes differ between chimpanzees and humans. [1] This result shows a 4% difference between the human genome and chimpanzee. [2]

Until now, scientists have yet to agree on the rate of gene mutation per generation of humans and chimpanzees, and scientific reports indicate very different results. [3,4]. The most recent data show that the rate of single nucleotide mutation in each generation of people is from 1 to 1.2 x 10-8. [5,6,7,8].

Thus, the ratio of 1.2 x 10-8 / generation is applied, with 3.2 billion pairs of nucleotides, each generation of people is allowed to mutate only 3.2 billion x 1.2 x 10-8 = 38. nucleotide / generation pairs.

With a 1.23% difference in the single nucleotide pair between humans and chimpanzees, the total number of distinct nucleotide pairs that occur across generations is: 3.2 billion x 1.23% = 39,360,000 nucleotide pairs. So the number of generations that need to be mutated to make chimpanzees evolve into humans is: 39,360,000 / 38 = 1,025,000 generations.

According to biological research, female chimpanzees will be able to become pregnant at the age of 13 or older, while male chimps are considered to be mature by the age of 16. [9] This is quite similar to human physiological characteristics. So we can consider the average age of each generation is 16 years old. Lead time for 1,025,000 evolutionary generations = 1,025,000 x 16 = 16,400,000 years.

At present, there is no research to determine exactly the beneficial / harmful / neutral mutations in the human genome. Some scientists believe that the majority are recessive and harmful mutations, some of which are beneficial and significant for evolution and breeding. Therefore, we are temporarily “biased”, considering that mutations that are beneficial to evolution account for one third of the remaining mutants that are not harmful or ineffective (in fact, the rate This is a lot lower than 1/3. So the time of evolution is calculated on the triples, equal to 16,400,000 x 3 = 49,200,000 years.

Thus, according to the theory of evolution, it takes at least 49.2 million years for the “common ancestor” (hominids) of humans and chimpanzees to evolve into humans. Evolutionary anthropologists, meanwhile, believe that mankind only took 5-7 million years to evolve from common ancestors with chimpanzees to modern humans, and the first primates – ancestors. primate ancestor only appeared 40 million years ago. Clearly, this is a mistake of modern evolution.

But, is that all?

The difference in human DNA and chimpanzee is only 1.23%?

In 2015, a report in the journal Nature published that studying the human genome on 2,504 individuals from 26 populations showed that the difference in the number of single nucleotide pairs between two individuals was 20 million out of a total of 3. , 2 billion nucleotide pairs, equivalent to 0.6%. [10] Thus, the difference in nucleotide pairs between two individuals is only half that of the nucleotide pairs between humans and chimpanzees as reported by the Society for Chimpanzee Genetic Analysis and Decoding in 2005 (0 , 6% compared to 1.23%). Although this comparison is lame, it still makes us skeptical about the results of the chimpanzee and human genes comparison in 2005. Perhaps the difference in nucleotides between humans and chimpanzees is greater than 1.23% .

In 2008, Dr. Richard Buggs, Associate Professor of Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, University of London, UK, compared only 2.4 billion single nucleotide pairs between humans and chimpanzees (accounting for 75 % of total nucleotides) to draw conclusions about the difference in nucleotides between the two species is 1.23% is not satisfactory. According to him, the difference is definitely greater than 1.23%.

Richard Buggs had a lot of discussion and debate with the authors of the 2005 report at The BioLogos Forum about why the project of the Society for Analysis and Decoding of the chimpanzee gene in 2005 compared only 2.4 billion out of 3.2 billion pairs of nucleotides between humans and chimpanzees.

At the forum discussions, Dr. Steve Schaffner, Computational Biologist, one of the main participants of the 2005 project gave the reason that: at the time of 2005, only there are 2.7 billion nucleotide pairs of decoded chimpanzees (there are over 400 million pairs of undeciphered). Of the 2.7 billion nucleotide pairs of decoded chimpanzees, 300 million pairs are not used for comparison because a large portion of them are not well-sequenced for comparison, some of which appear repetitive. many times in human generations and 90 million pairs of nucleotides that do not resemble human nucleotides. [11]

Not only doubting, Dr. Richard Buggs directly conducted several comparisons of the human genome to different versions of chimpanzee genes. Richard Buggs found that human and chimpanzee DNA is only the same from 82.34% to 84.38%. [11,12]. His research data can be downloaded from documents [13] to [16].

In 2017, Dr. Jeffrey P. Tomkins, a geneticist from Clemson University, USA, the lead author of The Design and Complexity of the Cell, said that the construction and decoding of chimpanzee genomes are very problems”. And based on the genome built with so many “problems”, only 85% of human and chimpanzee DNA is the same. [17]

Using the evolutionary time-consuming formulas for evolutionary bias above, in case chimpanzees and humans have 84.38% of the same DNA (equivalent to 15.62% of different DNA), then the time it takes a chimpanzee (or ape) to evolve into a human is 624.8 million years.

Meanwhile, according to modern evolution theory, the first multicellular organisms appeared only about 600 million years ago, and terrestrial life only started about 500 million years ago. Could it be that the “common ancestor” of humans and chimpanzees appeared more than 600 million years ago?

If we continue to apply this formula of calculating the time of evolution, then perhaps the primate time to evolve into humans is tens of billions of years – before the Earth formed, there was time to The first unicellular organism that evolved into a modern human being will take hundreds of billions of years, even trillions of years – tens or hundreds of times the age of the universe.

Thus, it is clear that, based on genetics, there is no basis to assert that organisms and humans are created by evolution and natural selection.