Open offices have been all the rage for decades now, in part because they're less expensive to put together and also because, since the 1950s, efficiency experts have promised they would make communication easier and work better.
Instead, says Stephen Dubner, economist, author and host of the podcast "Freakonomics," they're a scourge.
"If you work in an open office, you're more likely to be stressed out, less productive, and less satisfied," he tweeted.
That's because, as he explains in more detail on an October episode of his show, when you're stuck at your desk, "you're getting a lot of stimuli that you didn't ask for — like other people's conversations and phone calls. And you can't simply shut these out, no matter how good you think you are at concentrating."
At a certain point, it's just too hard not to get distracted, says the host. "We all have a limited amount of auditory bandwidth and, as the sound expert Julian Treasure likes to say, 'We don't have any earlids.'"