A cubicle-free workplace without private offices is supposed to force employees to collaborate. To have them talk more face-to-face. To get them off instant messenger and spontaneously brainstroming about new ideas.

But a recent study by two researchers offers evidence to support what many people who work in open offices already know: It doesn’t really work that way. The noise causes people to put on headphones and tune out. The lack of privacy prompts others to work from home when they can. And the sense of being in a fishbowl means many choose email over a desk-side chat.