Open Offices Are Bad for Productivity, Study Finds

iStock
iStock

The results of a new study from Oxford Economics should sound familiar to anyone working in a cubicle. As Forbes reports, working in an open office lowers employees' output as well as their morale. 

For their study, researchers surveyed over 1200 senior executives and non-executive employees about their workplace arrangements. While 53 percent of employees reported feeling less satisfied and less productive when they had to work through ambient noise, only 35 percent of executives felt the same way.

The disconnect between the perceptions of management and the people they employ was evident in other areas as well. Just 41 percent of employees said they have the necessary tools to filter out distractions, while 63 percent of executives felt that their employees had everything they needed. Fifty-two percent of employees described work/life balance as being very important to them. When employers were asked the same question about their team, only 34 percent of executives said that balance was a priority for their employees.

These discrepancies aren’t too surprising when you compare the work life of an executive to that of a lower-level employee. The study reveals that a majority of executives are equipped with tools that make it easy to do their jobs outside the office, while less than half of employees can say the same. The most drastic difference between the two groups is their physical workspace. Sixty-two percent of top-level workers have a private office—a privilege granted to just 14 percent of employees.

With so many executives lucky enough to have a quiet space to call their own, it makes sense that minimizing distractions was ranked last on their list of priorities when laying out an office. But when team productivity is at stake, poor office design is bad for everyone. Distractions can have such a negative impact, another study suggests employees may be better off working from home.

These Modern, Minimalist Cremation Urns Double as Planters

C.C. Boyce
C.C. Boyce

Cremation is becoming an increasingly common end-of-life plan, but many have lamented the lack of options when selecting an urn to store their loved one's ashes. Many of these vessels take the form of drab-looking vases that, for some people, serve as reminders of a painful event.

That’s why C.C. Boyce stepped in. The Los Angeles-based designer and woodworker created a collection of “planturns”—urns that double as planters—to fill a gap in the market.

“A while back a friend’s father passed away and they couldn’t find a cremation urn that they liked, so they asked me to make something, and I did, thinking this would just be a one-off custom job,” Boyce said in a video uploaded to Kickstarter. “But when I posted the final product to Instagram, I was flooded with messages from people all across the death care industry—people who took care of pets as well as people.”

Plant urns
C.C. Boyce

Some wanted an urn with a more modern aesthetic, while others wanted a subtler piece that would effortlessly blend with their household decor. The symbolism of death fusing with new life has not gone unnoticed, either.

Boyce spent a year experimenting with different designs and settled on two styles: one that comes in speckled maple, and another that comes in a two-toned walnut and sycamore. All of the vessels have two parts that attach via magnetic pull, so even if the planturn gets knocked over, the ashes will still be safe and sound.

The bottom part contains a hand-waxed muslin bag to store your loved one’s cremated remains, and the top part features a glass or ceramic holder for your plant of choice, whether it’s a succulent or air plant.

They come in three sizes, which will vary in accordance with the amount of ashes you want to store. A small planturn is suitable for small pets, while a large can hold the ashes of a person. Get it on Kickstarter for $225 to $500, depending on the size.

Attention Aspiring Astronauts: Arlo Skye Now Has Space-Themed Luggage

Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

While some travelers are preoccupied with getting their luggage through airport security, the designers at Arlo Skye are thinking bigger. As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the brand's new line of suitcases is inspired by space travel, with high tech features and a sleek, futuristic look.

Arlo Skye was founded in 2016 by alumni from Louis Vuitton and Tumi Inc. They set out to create luggage that emphasized design, with luxury polycarbonate suitcases available in trendy colors like rose gold and custom monogramming.

The company's Space Collection may be its most stylized line yet. It comes with a removable, 10,050-milliamp-hour charger with USB C and A ports for charging phones and other devices. The chrome-colored case is 22 inches tall, 9 inches deep, and 14 inches wide and weighs 8.5 pounds empty.

Space Collection suitcase from Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

Depending on what type of space traveler you are, you can get one of three designs laser-etched on the bottom of your luggage. There's Moon Shot, Team Human, and Occupy Mars; each engraving comes with a short ode to space and a small picture of its respective celestial body. Like other suitcases made by Arlo Skye, these bags are zipper-free and made from polycarbonate with an aluminum frame.

Whether you're a globetrotter or an aspiring astronaut, the Space Collection from Arlo Skye makes a great travel companion.

Buy it from Arlo Skye for $450.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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