At my last job, I worked in an open office. When I first started, my desk was actually in a hallway. (Space was very limited.) After a year, I graduated to a desk in the main office area, with only tiny dividers separating my space from my neighbor’s. I had to tune out a lot of distractions. It took extra effort, but it was part of my everyday experience, so I was used to it.

But would I have preferred an actual office? Definitely. It was sometimes difficult to ignore my coworkers’ conversations and really focus on getting my work done. I also had an “exposed” feeling that was kind of unnerving.

Recent research shows that I’m not alone in my feelings about open offices. Although open office plans are believed to promote teamwork and camaraderie, the distractions that exist in an open office can make it difficult for people to concentrate and can put a damper on creativity. Employees tend to be more productive and efficient when they have a quiet, private place to work.

So why are open offices so popular? Why are you possibly working in one right now? The video below provides some interesting insight into the origins of this office design and why it’s become so prevalent.