An extremely interesting article has been published in The New Yorker this week: THE OPEN-OFFICE TRAP I think this is a very important read. It has a lot of reasons why the conventional wisdom that open offices and cubes are good for productivity are wrong. Here are two excerpts that really got my attention (I added the bold emphasis) :
... found that as the number of people working in a single room went up, the number of employees who took sick leave increased apace. Workers in two-person offices took an average of fifty per cent more sick leave than those in single offices, while those who worked in fully open offices were out an average of sixty-two per cent more.
What’s more, Evans and Johnson discovered that people in noisy environments made fewer ergonomic adjustments than they would in private, causing increased physical strain. The subjects subsequently attempted to solve fewer puzzles than they had after working in a quiet environment; in other words, they became less motivated and less creative.