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Let's Take This Open Floor Plan To the Next Level 156

theodp writes: In response to those of you who are unhappy with your Open Office, McSweeney's has some ideas for taking the open floor plan to the next level. "Our open floor plan was decided upon after rigorous research that primarily involved looking at what cool internet companies were doing and reflexively copying them," writes Kelsey Rexroat. "We're dismayed and confused as to why their model isn't succeeding for our own business, and have concluded that we just haven't embraced the open floor plan ideals as fully as we possibly can. So team, let's take this open floor plan to the next level!" Among the changes being implemented in the spirit of transparency and collaboration: 1. "All tables, chairs, and filing cabinets will be replaced by see-through plastic furnishings." 2. "All desks will be mounted on wheels and arranged into four-desk clusters. At random intervals throughout the day, a whistle will blow, at which point you should quickly roll your desk into a new cluster." 3. "Employees' desktops will be randomly projected onto a movie screen in the center of the office." 4. "You can now dial into a designated phone line to listen in on any calls taking place within the office and add your opinion." Some workplaces might make you question just how tongue-in-cheek this description is.
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Let's Take This Open Floor Plan To the Next Level

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  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @12:41PM (#49805057)

    ...everybody should get naked. There...I said it.

    It's the logical end state of this whole open office thing. Complete transparency and no place to hide.

    • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @12:44PM (#49805067)

      ...everybody should get naked. There...I said it.

      It's the logical end state of this whole open office thing. Complete transparency and no place to hide.

      With tech workers?? Do you actually WANT to see what some of these pale, flabby people look like without clothes on???

      Though, then again...if that was walking around me all the time, I'd keep my eyes focused squarely on my monitor and my work. My productivity would soar...hmmmmm....

      • ...everybody should get naked. There...I said it.

        It's the logical end state of this whole open office thing. Complete transparency and no place to hide.

        With tech workers?? Do you actually WANT to see what some of these pale, flabby people look like without clothes on???

        Though, then again...if that was walking around me all the time, I'd keep my eyes focused squarely on my monitor and my work. My productivity would soar...hmmmmm....

        Since we are in Slashdot, which constantly pimps for more female "tech workers", and since i am a sexist Greek making so many comments against that idea, i feel that now is my chance to make peace with all the SJWs... so: give us NUDE female "tech workers"... and beer... well, fuck the beer!

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If you're fucking the beer you're doing it wrong.

          • If you're fucking the beer you're doing it wrong.

            I am open to any good advise, so... please advise!

            • by plopez ( 54068 )

              1) take clothes off
              2) open beer
              3) drink said beer
              4) wrap beer bottle or can in 90 grit sand paper
              5) bend over
              6) rapidly and forcefully insert beer bottle into anus

              You will soon be productive in a manner you never dreamed of. And you will make quite the impression on women. I've never done it, jusat trust me on it.

              • 1) take clothes off
                2) open beer
                3) drink said beer
                4) wrap beer bottle or can in 90 grit sand paper
                5) bend over
                6) rapidly and forcefully insert beer bottle into anus

                Check.

                You will soon be productive in a manner you never dreamed of.

                Oh, i am already more productive than i ever dreamed of: first time in years cleaning out my storeroom...

                And you will make quite the impression on women.

                I can't believe it, but just now a chick told me how impressive i look holding my chainsaw!

                I've never done it, jusat [sic!] trust me on it.

                I've never done it neither, but just trust me on it: can you please open your front door...

        • by Sun ( 104778 )

          You are given nude female workers and beer, and it's the beer you choose to fuck?

          I question your self identity as a sexist.

          Shachar

          • You are given nude female workers and beer, and it's the beer you choose to fuck?

            I question your self identity as a sexist.

            That's because you are not sexist enough - i am so sexist that i will choose to fuck the beer... yeah, that's how sexist i am!

            Shachar

            Not convinced yet that i am ultra sexist? I am a racist also, but just because our Greek deity of dawn is the female Eos, i prefer to worship that barbarian Shachar...

    • Mhmmm ... faddy.

    • Thus combining rigid control with a complete extraction of personal dignity. Sounds about like what upper management is aiming for.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Thus combining rigid control with a complete extraction of personal dignity. Sounds about like what upper management is aiming for.

        Honestly, what it reminds me of is government a la the Progressive Left:

        "Hmmm... that didn't work. So let's try more of it."

        4 years later:

        "Hmmm... that didn't work. So let's try more of it."

    • the next step is to make the office smaller, so everyone has to be closer together.

      just rows of card tables, with chairs. 2 people per table, facing each other.

    • Having over 50% young females on my floor, I vote for this.

      • Just what are they doing on your floor? You should at the very least offer them a chair.

        Jeez. No wonder women don't like us....

    • ...everybody should get naked. There...I said it.

      It's the logical end state of this whole open office thing. Complete transparency and no place to hide.

      We could fix airport security that way, too.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      I hope I work with attractive women if that happens!

    • "Office employees worked naked for a month as social experiment"

      http://www.deccanchronicle.com... [deccanchronicle.com] ;-)

  • Let's not and say we did.

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @12:42PM (#49805061)
    "Those of you who are?" You are implying that there are people out there that have to endure open office and do enjoy the experience.

    Open Office is an aberration and is a direct result of management-by-trend-chasing practice.
    • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @01:25PM (#49805235)

      I recently had 2 interviews: one at HP and one at ebay.

      both were 'rows and rows of desks in an OO grid'. made me sick to see how dehumanizing it was. no, I did not get any offers from either of those 2 places. maybe it was a good thing.

      I saw next to no personal stuff on peoples' desks, there. I tend to bring things in from home (sometimes even computers or networking boxes that I need for a short term 'lab') but I would not feel ok doing that when no desk actually belongs to you, you come in, grab one of the 'open desks' and then use someone's grubby keyboard, probably still with cold and flu virus on the keys. not enough lockers (the concept of a locker at work also turns me off; as our desks USED to be lockers in their own right; stable ones we could always use and count on) and no security so I would not feel good about leaving my stuff there.

      there really seems to be a unified effort to dehumanize employees. also to reduce their pay, make them compete with foreigners (who live 6 or 12 to a house that only has 3 bedrooms), keep their payscales at an all-time low and fire you when your project is done.

      we truly are slipping back to the bad old days of millworkers in sweatshops. unions don't exist for hw/sw guys (generally) and there are no signs of anything coming back to help balance the power again.

      one thing is for sure: each time I see an OO plan, I throw up a little and I weep for us all, in our collective losses. HR keeps telling us 'the kids love it!' but even when I talk to 20somethings they really don't love this OO idea either.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        both were 'rows and rows of desks in an OO grid'. made me sick to see how dehumanizing it was

        A couple jobs back, when I was looking to move back east from out west (Seattle) (primarily to be closer to my and my wife's parents, and my wife really didn't like the Washington climate), I interviewed with and had offers from Bloomberg in NYC and a company in Florida (Tampa area). While the salary was a little higher at Bloomberg (probably not enough to offset cost of living, though), what really drove me away from there and to accept the Florida company's offer was that Bloomberg offered a few feet of a

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Open Offices suck for the employees but management loves them because they reduce capital investment and some costs.
        They are a rotten place to work.
        Unions never solve any problems they just drove the jobs off shore. There will always be some place with lower cost labor that the work can be off loaded too.

        The solution has always been there in the States. Quit working for others and start your own firm.

        So you go bankrupt. Learn from your mistakes and start another firm. So you go bankrupt again. Learn fr

        • They reduce rent not capital cost. Furnishing either is the same.

          If the company you work for pays $36/SF per year, would you take an office if it meant you were paid $2,000 less per year?

          I appreciate software is different than engineering, but the collaboration, mentoring, and comorodory of an open office environment really helps build the business for us. While I do have an office, I would hope for more collaboration space rather than a larger workstation, although much smaller than 10' of desk space is a

          • If the company you work for pays $36/SF per year, would you take an office if it meant you were paid $2,000 less per year?

            Yes. And the company would probably easily get it's $2000 back in a more productive work environment for me.

          • I appreciate software is different than engineering, but the collaboration, mentoring, and comorodory of an open office environment really helps build the business for us. While I do have an office

            You like the open office environment, although you have your own office... how nice. Open offices are really nice as long as it is someone else dealing with being packed in like cattle.

            • I have had good cubicles most of my career, and personally prefer the collaboration. The main downside is not being able to use the speakerphone at your desk. For my role today that is not practical.

      • I've had my own office in almost every job (I count as exceptions the startups/under 20 person shops I worked in) since 1985. In the late '90's I needed to move into management to do it. In 2013, I had to move to my own company to do it. It was (and is) worth it.

        I remember when engineers were actually treated as professionals - offices, administrative assistants, and all. Now, you're treated in the information factory like the line workers you have become. It's a shame you decided not to have a union. They'

      • At my HP location, our new "command center" is kinda OO, but with eight monitors per station and only a few other people close by, I still have some privacy. We still have cubes, even though mine is on a different floor and I never actually sit there. I've actually brought some old PC stuff from home and use it as "storage". They had the chance to make it all OO, at least on one floor. Total remodel, tore down almost all the internal walls, new carpet, ceiling tiles, network runs...but they put all the
    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
      Substitute "Agile" for "Open Office" and "open floor" and it applies equally well.
    • Is the open toilet next?

  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @12:47PM (#49805089)

    Companies where the open office approach succeeded had something in common: the population of the office chose it for themselves, early on. They had an open office environment because that's how they wanted to work, and because the dynamic that existed between the employees was compatible with it. Then later, a lot of other companies had executives look at both the success of those companies and the lower real estate costs that the model uses, and decided they would "choose" it for their own staff. And that's not quite how it works. It's rather like deciding that your goldfish would be better off in a salt water tank because of how big the fish were in some other tank you saw, and then finding yourself confused as to why the fish all died. Not all cultures are the same, and you can't change the culture by imposing something upon it that is toxic.

    • by Veranix ( 666820 )

      Companies where the open office approach succeeded had something in common: the population of the office chose it for themselves, early on. They had an open office environment because that's how they wanted to work, and because the dynamic that existed between the employees was compatible with it. Then later, a lot of other companies had executives look at both the success of those companies and the lower real estate costs that the model uses, and decided they would "choose" it for their own staff. And that's not quite how it works. It's rather like deciding that your goldfish would be better off in a salt water tank because of how big the fish were in some other tank you saw, and then finding yourself confused as to why the fish all died. Not all cultures are the same, and you can't change the culture by imposing something upon it that is toxic.

      Exactly this, yes. The company I work for recently decided that "open, collaborative spaces" would be better for every team and department, regardless of the nature of their work or where they were located - which resulted in people working with financial data adjacent to and nigh surrounded by call centers, and other such "improvements".

      Shortly after this went into effect, they started experimenting with work-from-home programs, as many of us clamored for it. Oddly enough, productivity went up in many case

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > Surrounded by Call Centers

        Brings back memories...

        I worked in a development team with 12 developers, a lead and a manager. In a single row of desks.

        Surrounded by 50 call center workers and other only slightly less annoying phone workers like Marketing people and people who just kind used of the company as their plaything because they'd been around quite a while, and of course they're on the phone all day. The CSA's were right there literally back to back, and our client-base was old and vulnerable peopl

        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          There are right ways of doing thiongs and wrong ways of doing things. What seems to be working in Europe is Open Plan per department or parts of departments if they become to big.

          You do not want people from one department mix with people from another department, because their working enviroment is different. I have know departments where when you entered, you could not hear anything. It was as if somebody had died, but they like it that way. The same company a different department there was laughter and noi

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
        One of the most highly productive companies I worked for in the past had individual near sound-proofed offices for all their developers. The least productive companies all had one thing in common - chairs attached to common tables as desks, the epitome of the cheap open office concept.
    • by nmb3000 ( 741169 ) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:23PM (#49805495) Journal

      I disagree strongly that "culture" (a word that's constantly misconstrued by executive trying to justify a horrible workplace) has any bearing on whether an open plan is successful. It much more strongly depends on the type of work being done.

      A police bullpen or typing pool may be fine in a big open area. The same goes for sales and marketing types. However, if you're talking about any work which requires stretches of concentrated effort then it's just a Bad Idea. Engineers? No. Programmers? No. Accountants? No. Any kind of researcher? No.

      the lower real estate costs

      This is the only real reason they're pushing this model. It's a clear terminus of the erosion that's led us from offices, to cubicles, to the little half walls, to just acres of desks. Well, that, and wanting to look hip by copying other companies who are doing it.

      • A police bullpen or typing pool may be fine in a big open area. The same goes for sales and marketing types. However, if you're talking about any work which requires stretches of concentrated effort then it's just a Bad Idea. Engineers? No. Programmers? No. Accountants? No. Any kind of researcher? No.

        Have you ever seen a picture of an engineering/drafting office from say... anywhere between the late 1800's and the mid/late 1980's (when draftsmen started to be replaced by computers and the size of said offi

        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          The engineers would have needed to work in close proximity anyway and back then they lacked as many noisy devices interrupting for attention.

          Stick a phone which rings randomly on every desk and see how it affects the performance of your engineers and programmers.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        A police bullpen or typing pool may be fine in a big open area. The same goes for sales and marketing types. However, if you're talking about any work which requires stretches of concentrated effort then it's just a Bad Idea. Engineers? No. Programmers? No. Accountants? No. Any kind of researcher? No.

        This, different jobs have different requirements. Personally I hate open plan, but I find that if I can communicate quickly with my team it's very helpful. The problem is listening to everyone one else communicating with their team. Having been sat right next to sales, I'd rather be stuck in the dreariest, boxiest cube farm ever devised by Catbert, the evil director of human resources. Sales never shuts up, ever.

        the lower real estate costs

        Its not real estate, its tax.

        Certainly in Australia, a partition is not considered furniture

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @12:49PM (#49805101)
    Back in the 80s my company was designing a new building for us to move into. Management was excited about the idea of a round lab in the middle of the building, with glass walls so everyone could see the engineers at work. Us guys were pretty unhappy with the idea, but the idea wasn't fully torpedoed until a female engineer said "so you don't want us wearing skirts anymore, huh?"
  • by jazman_777 ( 44742 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @12:50PM (#49805103) Homepage
    When something isn't working according to the theory, it's not because it's an incorrect theory, it's because people NEED TO TRY HARDER! More WILL needs to be applied. That is all.
    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
      If you want to reduce your productivity as much as possible, spend as little on productivity enhancements as possible. Voila - open office floor plans. Great for 1 way seminars, terrible for actually getting work done that does require some communication and collaboration.
    • When something isn't working according to the theory...

      The problem is often it does work. The successful companies can figure out why it worked and build on it. The unsuccessful ones will be the ones who push harder and can't figure out what's wrong and why it works for "those other guys".

      Seriously people talk about management 101, but the key people fail to realise is that management 102 is exactly the opposite. Based on my business degree I can conclude that the perfect workplace gives staff complete autonomy while being micromanaged, put them in cubes in the

  • by IronChef ( 164482 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @12:55PM (#49805119)

    I worked at an office which specified the objects you could have on your desk. Leave your stapler on your desk, and Lumberg would come by and tell you to put it away and tidy up.

    I was told it was part of their arrangement with the interior designer. Talk about form over function!

  • And a fish right in the middle of it all to remind everybody that this is an OPEN FLOOR PLAN DAMMIT!
  • by lophophore ( 4087 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @01:38PM (#49805295) Homepage

    I worked for a place that moved to new office space, from cube land, into "modern" open office land.

    The CEO said it was "cool" and "techie" and "everybody in 'the valley' was doing it."

    It sucked wind. I mean, it blew, hard. Cube land was no bargain, the cubes were about 7 by 6 feet, but at least you could pretend you had a bit of privacy to make a phone call, to send an email, to generally have your own space. Open office land was 24 inch deep, 5-foot wide desks with a foot tall divider between you and the next person. You could swivel your head and see heads in all directions, and hear and see what everybody was doing, and it was loud. You could not roll your chair back too fast for fear of clobbering the person behind you. It sucked. (Did I mention that it sucked?)

    It was no place to concentrate -- it was quite focus-proof.

    The open office was not chosen for the "cool" factor, it was chosen for the "cheap" factor, because it could better than double the employee per square foot density. This was a growing, profitable, privately held company, and there was no need for it, except to make the owner's take better.

    Open office can work in places where it is not done for the wrong reasons. Give people some personal space, install acoustic treatments and dividers, and it can work. Treat people like sardines, and those that can swim away, will.

    • You have to try to separate work teams or at least divisions somehow. There also needs to be done sort of divider when you have a lot of people even its just a bookshelf. The acoustics are never going to be perfect you have to get used to it. Some places put background music (at a low level) to cut down on some of the noise but its a tradeoff.

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        The acoustics are never going to be perfect you have to get used to it.

        It is not a matter of perfect. It is a matter of having way too many noisy distractions; you might as well have a loud phone ringing at random times on the desk beside you when you are not hearing one side of a conversation.

        If focus is required then the only way to get used to it is to become less productive or leave.

    • by radtea ( 464814 )

      Companies that do this clearly don't care about productivity, because cost is only one part of the equation. No one who understands anything about business ever does anything because it costs less. They do things because the output per dollar spent is higher. If they are focused on cost, or do something imbecilic like think of their business in terms of "costs centres" and "profit centres" (hint: if it's necessary for your business it's a profit centre, since you can't generate a profit without it... if it

  • and cubicles cost less than walls.

    .
    If you want to follow the trend, find a way to put people in an office that costs less than tables.

    .
    Maybe cushions on the floor?

    • Its called telecommuting.

      • Ahhh... good point. My friend telecommutes. As of a year ago, his company stopped paying for his Internet service, saying that everyone has Internet service now. So the company effectively has an employee with no, zero, none, zilch office costs.
    • by astro ( 20275 )

      At the last dot-com I worked at, where I was a dev lead, we had an open plan office which some people liked but rather annoyed me. My annoyance was mitigated by an abundance of more private spaces that anyone was welcome to pick up their laptop and occupy when desired.

      Anyway, my reason for replying is that this business was moving toward saving furniture money - but not on tables - on chairs. There was a trend toward standing desks. I understand that for a tiny minority of people this may be easier on their

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Be careful [ytimg.com] what you wish for.

  • I have had both an open concept office and I have also been in the situation where I have had an private office (as a developer/ team leader). If I am engaged in the work and I enjoy going into work and getting stuff done.... I prefer a more open environment (4 or 6 people on the same team). I found that when I had an office I found myself becoming more isolated and interacted with other developers less. Yes, I don't get interrupted as much -- but then people that I am managing get stuck more often and
  • I have never worked anywhere else but on an open floorplan. basicaly at least it is each department that has their own room. Directors will have, most of the times, a separate office due to the fact that they will have some need for cprivacy due to confidintiality, but most of the trime this is limited to glass walls, so you can't hear what they are talking about on the phone.

    Managers are sitting on the same foor as the rest though.

    Only in once place I ever worked or visited, they had semi-walls between des

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Um just because you don't want to be "social" at work, doesn't mean you arent social. And the fact that you equate "social media" with being social shows what a driveling nitwit you are.

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      I know (again from experience) this is the case for the majority of people.

      I don't see how you could know from others' experience. It really depends on the kind of work and the temperament of the individual. These open floor plans crush those individual preferences, and thus productivity, then tries to make up for it by cramming more people into a space. It's communist hell at its finest.

    • by nyet ( 19118 )

      I have never worked anywhere else but on an open floorplan.

      And yet:

      I know (from experience) I would be less productive in a cubicle or in my own office. I know (again from experience) this is the case for the majority of people.

      From your vast experience not working anywhere else but on an open floorplan, and your vast experience not being anybody else but yourself?

  • by thebeastofbaystreet ( 3805781 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @02:33PM (#49805539) Homepage
    Those of us unlucky enough to find ourselves working for Canadian banks in tech don't even have desks of our own. I, for example, work in a hot-desking dungeon where I have to book a desk by the day and carry my meagre belongings around in an old shoe-box. I had a manager for a while who even made us move desks during the day, because that was agile! I long for an office environment only as unpleasant as an open plan one, I really do.
  • I know the article is a joke, but I've heard of open office designs that have X employees and (X-0.1*X) desks. Desks are not assigned, and early birds get the worms. They are miserable places.
    • We - large Canadian bank - have X-30%, and I think that's fairly normal. We also have an on-line booking system for desks that is only accessible from the office - which forces people to come into work every day and, effectively, sign-in. If there's no desk then you can either camp out in a meeting room, go find a nearby cafe with free wifi or go home again. It's a total nightmare.
      • and this is their IT department? So, when your getting computers ready for deployment, you what..."book" several desks? Although at that kind of place I wouldn't be suprised if your company didn't actually provide any PCs, and make employees got buy their own laptops
  • No roof, no walls, no floor. Take your chalkboard and jumbo chalk, go sit in the middle of a cow pasture.
    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      We could strap wireless access points to the cows and have steak every day. I will come out of retirement for that. Can we go in the barn if it is raining?

    • if I could go hunt for shrooms on my break, and could get high speed net access and power...sure thing!
  • Give everyone their own sandbox.
  • Trying to work in an open office is like trying to write music in a bus station.

  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @06:48PM (#49806667) Homepage

    I certainly get the appeal of everyone having a nice office, but in a lot of cities that's simply not going to happen - the space is just far too expensive. So you end up with the choice between a more compact layout, firing a bunch of people, or moving to the burbs.

    I work at a tech company in Manhattan, we have open plan offices because there's really no other option here. But there are things we do which I think help alleviate some of the common complaints I hear:

    • Everyone gets an assigned desk, and it's a nice sit/stand which you can put whatever you want on (no stupid "tidyness" rules). Some people have fish tanks, huge monitor collections, libraries, whatever. The "no assigned desk" insanity is, well, insane.
    • No offices, period. What's good for the developers is good for the CEO. He's often seen hanging out on the engineering floors.
    • Lots of phone booths and meeting rooms if you need privacy.
    • Lots of alternative working areas - there's couches everywhere if you want to chill out, a bar area, outside space. There's going to be a dedicated quiet area for people who like silence.
    • Totally flexible hours/working schedules - if you're distracted and just want to head out for an hour to clear your head no one's gonna care. If you work better on a table in the park - go for it.
    • No desk phones - encourages people to go away from the work area to make phone calls, which keeps noise and distractions down.

    I think there are advantages to the open layout over an all office setup - I do like being able to hear what people are talking about because many, many times I've been able to get involved in something I can help with, or learn about something useful. Overall I'm pretty sure if offered the alternative (moving out of the city) pretty much everyone there would vote to stick with what we have.

    • Sounds similar to us. We're not totally open, we're broken up into rooms of about 6-10 engineers each. This is pretty much ideal for the way I work. I can talk with (and overhear) people working on the same projects I am, but I'm not bothered by lots of extraneous stuff. The rest of the office -- phone booths, conference rooms, alternative spaces, flexible hours -- all sound similar. We've always had engineers working remotely, so the concept of working somewhere outside the actual office isn't foreign to

    • by Toshito ( 452851 )

      So you end up with the choice between a more compact layout, firing a bunch of people, or moving to the burbs.

      I vote for Moving to the burbs!!! I fucking hate to have to haul my ass in a stinking subway to a big fucking polluted city full of people every day.

      Why do we all have to cram ourselves in office towers when at the same time guys in fucking Bangalore can work on the same systems as us?

      Why not create smaller satellite offices all over the country and go to the nearest?

      • by radish ( 98371 )

        Sure, that works for some companies. In the specific case that I was describing, the vast majority of employees live in the city (many within walking distance of the office) and I think they'd be unwilling to leave. I personally live in the suburbs and commute in, but I'm the exception. Looking at the companies around where I live, there are very few I'd be interested in working for.

  • Luddite solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @07:55PM (#49806959)

    I interviewed at Analog Devices a year back (didn't get an offer, sadly). At this particular design center all design engineers had offices. It was specifically understood that good hard design work required periods of intense focus with no distractions. Their model was to encourage folks to leave their door open when they could, but to encourage folks who really needed to focus to close it, or if discussions/phone calls in your office would distract others to encourage folks to close the door.

    There were still some cubicles, but those were for the secretary, and for setting up test equipment.

    Where I went to is a good company and all, but boy are there days I really wish I could close off the rest of the office din and distraction. I still get more done on weekends during my kids nap time than I can get done in a full work day more of the time.

    Cubes are cheap, but I think the real cost in lost productivity vastly outweighs savings in building materials for those doing the really complex stuff.

    • by RyoShin ( 610051 )

      The problem is that productivity is much harder to quantify than $/sqft. Most people who want to or succeed in forcing these open floor plans on others prefer to take easy numbers, like that $/sqft, or lines of code/hr, as estimates for what things and people are worth over things like code quality or worker productivity and morale.

  • "We value all of your ideas equally, so all decisions will be made by randomly drawing employees’ proposals out of a hat."

    This one actually has high entertainment value!

  • Open floor plans have nothing to do with improving innovation or creativity. That's just what they tell people.

    The real reason is the realest of all reasons: cost savings.

    In the 90s software companies offered everyone "their own office". It was a source of pride for them (I've never worked any other way).
    There was also research that supported it. A famous book was Tom DeMarco's "Peopleware" that stated that companies with private offices had programmers that were 5-10x more productive. (This book also start

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