This is something I have always suspected. Open plan office environments have a negative affect on employees.
Absolutely. Not only are you more likely to catch an actual cold from the guy next to you, but the noise levels are stupidly high, meaning you can’t concentrate. I moaned about this so much at Lionhead they rearranged the entire office and put me in the corner where I was happy :D.
Seriously though, programmers generally need quiet offices. The ideal is for everyone to have their own office, and be left undisturbed to code. Managers won’t do this because they think workers will slack off, but I reckon they need to either
a) install web-filter or logging software so they can’t do that or
b) only employ people who are likely to work hard, and pay them accordingly.
I guess its hard to find people who want to make games who fit into b) though