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Recession took toll on workplace collaboration

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

U.S. workers are focusing more and collaborating less than they did six years ago—a likely result of the Great Recession and a lagging recovery.

So say researchers at Gensler, the nation’s largest commercial interior design firm. Every five years, the company surveys thousands of office employees to better understand the realities of working life.

Survey participants said they spend about 54% of their time engaged in individual tasks that require focus, up from 48% in 2008. Time spent collaborating with co-workers fell from 30% in 2008 to 24% now.

Apparently, workers are just hunkering down. Designer Janet Pogue said the survey revealed “an overall decline in the ability of U.S. workers to get their jobs done” since the recession began.

Gensler found that 44% of “knowledge workers” have private offices, 44% occupy open-plan space. Others share an office or have unassigned seats.

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