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Case study: open plan office and anxiety

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Last updated 5th October 2008.

An employer agreed to move a person who stammers to his own small office, in the light of social anxiety in an open plan office.

A person with a severe stammer worked in an open plan office which was reasonably noisy and where social interaction was frequent. He found, over time, that working in this environment was causing increasing social anxiety and affected his concentration levels.

He argued it would be reasonable for the employer to relocate his workplace to a more isolated part of the office or another small office. He used the evidence in a research paper (Craig & Tran Fear of speaking: chronic anxiety and stammering 2006: https://doi.org/10.1192/apt.12.1.63) to show a link between stammering and social anxiety, being disability-related.

This was accepted, supported by Occupational Health, and he was moved to work from a small office on the same floor.

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