Open Office Space is Bullshit

open office space san franciscoI can see the good intentions  – one would assume that removing the actual walls between people will remove the social walls between them at work and will encourage open communication and ideas. However, just like with communal tables in restaurants, it just doesn’t work.  Making all the employees sit in a large space next to each other doesn’t really benefit anyone, and if anything – instead of encouraging creativity, it is actually counterproductive. No one talks to each other. Just about everyone is looking at the computer screen and wearing noise-canceling headphones. If anything needs to be communicated, it’s done by e-mail just like in any other setting, even between the co-workers who literally sit next to each other.

I would think that having a little more privacy, such as having at least your own cubicle if not your own office, would actually be more conducive to coming up with creative ideas. Just as importantly, having private offices, however small they might be, allows the male workers to masturbate, which is critical to maintaining one’s sanity during those frequent times when work becomes unbearably boring, depressing or… unbearably unbearable.

5 thoughts on “Open Office Space is Bullshit

  1. It’s been 6 years since I worked in a tech environment. But I remembered loving the open spaces. It was the best work environment I’ve ever been in. We always had our nerf guns and stink bombs if it ever got too quiet.

    Gone are those days.

    I’m currently working alone in an office right now. Bored out of my mind. But ur right. It makes one think more. I think about getting the hell out of here.

    (Alright, I was kiddin bout them stink bombs. Tho I think that’s what this new tech generation needs every now n then. We had a love machine where we send love msgs that equals $ for whenever someone did a good job or made us feel good. But we should also invent discreet stink bombs. May be encased in ordinary tech accesories like succulents, for those really cruddy days when u just wanna express how ur work stinks.)

    • 😉 I am glad you actually had a good experience working in an open space. At least you speak from experience. I actually talk out of my ass. Like you, I work in an office alone but luckily a buddy of mine who makes days much brighter is in the office more often than not, which makes a big difference. As stressful and oppressive as having a mean overly-demanding boss is, being in the office alone can kill motivation to work and other kinds of motivation quickly.

    • Oh Yuji, if you guys where horsing around me I would fly a paper airplane your way that had “shut up kids” written on the sides in marker. The rambunctious, childish, playground activities actually did not bother me. Sometimes we just need to release our inner child to return to creativity.

      My last career was in construction management and planning. I would cringe every time I received an invitation to propose on a new project that had an open office design. I cringed because I had to compile a proposal and presentation on how – :)*amazing*(: – it is! And as I wrote the book of bullshit, I was seething in a open office of people pretending to work, spying on each other and calling others out when they caught them on “the internet”. My role required extensive research which meant I was on the internet about 30% of the time. Imagine cranking away on a five page selling article due in 10 minutes, then all of a sudden a coworker appears behind you and screams “working hard or hardly working”. !!!!!!

      Open offices are far from productive. It is a distraction to daily productivity and a damper on the overall morale. The major selling point of the designer/space planner is “collaboration” (! :-O), which is BS because that is what a “conference room” is for. Meetings are time consuming. Meetings require a strong leader that has talent to draw attention from everyone and courage to tell everyone to put the phone away. You would pretty much have to act as a primary school teacher. Now imagine that crap going on in the middle of the “open office”. No. Even an unproductive meeting is a distraction to those working inches away, and then yards away due to poor acoustic engineering and material. Those unproductive meetings are usually a gathering of chest beating and speaking over each other.

      Designers usually dump the catch phrase “cost-efficient” over and over until it is a programmed into the client’s memory chip. Then when it is time to renovate, they ask for “cost-efficient”! They (bosses) wouldn’t know because they likely still have a private office. Overall the cost efficiency is only in the initial contract amount. Add loss of productivity and lowered employee morale. How efficient is that? Why would a designer aka architect (I call the ones who design interiors designers and the ones who engineer buildings architects, it’s only fair) be so focused on the client’s savings vs the designer’s profit? The cost efficiency is more for the designer actually. They use the same materials and furniture, therefore discounts from vendor relationships. The ease of planning and constructing an open office also reduces the schedule and workload. The productivity benefits the constructors and designers.

      I’ll end here, I can go on and on about this topic. Nerf guns at each “workstation” would be fun. Just make sure the “safety warden” doesn’t see you having fun.

      • Thank you for your interesting and just as importantly credible viewpoint. I can’t help but wonder why this layout continues to be so popular. Aren’t we due for something new and better?

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