09/17/2013 11:27 EDT | Updated 11/17/2013 05:12 EST

Open concept offices may hinder productivity, study suggests

Open concept workplaces may not be the bustling hubs of creativity and colleague collaboration that many employers wanted them to be, a new study suggests.

Instead, a wall-less office may make employees unproductive and unhappy.

Many companies have switched to the open-concept office, including Vancouver ad agency, Rethink. At its Vancouver offices, employees can hold business meetings around a ping pong table or brainstorm in a space filled with Lego. But, none of those employees — boss included — will have their own private office.

"There’s a lot of cross-pollination that goes on," said Ian Grais, a founding partner of the company. "I think it helps people just understand what’s going on in the office and maybe tweak off an idea that they overhear from another workplace."

A Rethink employee agreed with Grais that it creates a more fun, community-oriented workspace.

However, Australian researchers who examined the preferences of 40,000 workers across the world found that philosophy may not be accurate.

They discovered that private offices "out performed open-concept layouts" when it came to acoustics, privacy and all-around satisfaction.

However, employees most likely won't be seeing walls in their workplaces anytime soon because of a long-held belief by designers that workers in a social setting may be willing to stick around and work longer hours.