We've been touching on the topic of open offices vs productivity in the office during our summary of the Michael Brill booklet The Office as a Tool. I found a research paper at Herman Miller's site that gives their findings on issues surrounding privacy. They acknowledge up front that people in the office want privacy and that it increases productivity and job satisfaction. They go on to reveal that privacy is not always four walls and a door. There are issues of visual privacy, and acoustical privacy that contribute to an overall sensation of privacy. They also look at factors that suggest there are aspects of openness that are hardwired into us as a preference that brings a feeling of well being. They also outlined the logic for offering workers a selection of other places to work beyond their own workstation, where other levels of privacy could be gained. There are no simple answers. Our own findings of wide open offices in many creative agencies points to the variety of factors involved. Do the creative types simply thrive in a more open environment? Or is their sense of privacy different and fullfilled in another way? Different job activities will thrive in different environments and it behooves the organization making a new office to consider how to serve their workers best.