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(Fast Company)   "The open office is dead." Atheist subby might now believe in God after spending three years in one such white-collar sweatshop   (fastcompany.com) divider line
    More: Spiffy, Telecommuting, Office, longtime designer of office spaces, Small office/home office, open office floor plan, big companies, future of work, office space  
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846 clicks; posted to Business » on 21 Apr 2021 at 12:53 PM (3 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-04-21 11:59:32 AM  
It's not just the open office.  Most companies are trying to offload unneeded space, as a lot of them are finally realizing that their staff can be as or more productive working from home.  There's a huge amount of office space available or on the sublease market in most areas right now, and prices are very low.
 
2021-04-21 12:14:32 PM  
Good! And fortunately enough, the same wizards who came up with the "open office" concept have new workplace configuration solutions to sell. How very convenient.
 
2021-04-21 12:16:14 PM  
Sooooooooooooooo... we're going back to the WeWork thing?
 
2021-04-21 12:19:09 PM  
I'm never going in the office again. I can play video games and Fark all day at home and still get paid without them catching on.
 
2021-04-21 12:50:51 PM  
Open office means death to an advertising agency. Why? Because it means that the account people actually see how creatives work. But they don't understand that playing video games, throwing footballs around, surfing the web and general farking around IS how creatives work. So they get jealous and petty.
 
2021-04-21 12:58:38 PM  
Yeah, I switched to Libre Office some years back.
 
2021-04-21 1:03:03 PM  

FlashHarry: Open office means death to an advertising agency. Why? Because it means that the account people actually see how creatives work. But they don't understand that playing video games, throwing footballs around, surfing the web and general farking around IS how creatives work. So they get jealous and petty.


That's not new: "Henry Ford's reaction to a consultant who questioned why he paid $50,000 a year to someone who spent most of his time with his feet on his desk. "Because a few years ago that man came up with something that saved me $2,000,000," he replied. "And when he had that idea his feet were exactly where they are now."
 
Juc
2021-04-21 1:03:41 PM  
Just before the pandemic my company consolidated our offices into a big open concept place nearby.
It was pretty funny to me.
I think they're going to turn it mainly into normal offices and meeting rooms, then have a bunch of people work from home.
 
2021-04-21 1:12:05 PM  

ZMugg: FlashHarry: Open office means death to an advertising agency. Why? Because it means that the account people actually see how creatives work. But they don't understand that playing video games, throwing footballs around, surfing the web and general farking around IS how creatives work. So they get jealous and petty.

That's not new: "Henry Ford's reaction to a consultant who questioned why he paid $50,000 a year to someone who spent most of his time with his feet on his desk. "Because a few years ago that man came up with something that saved me $2,000,000," he replied. "And when he had that idea his feet were exactly where they are now."


I forget where I heard the joke, but I've repeated it many times. It's a blessing to have a job where idly staring off into space for big chunks of time is indistinguishable from intense work.

I could not focus on more than a few words at a time in TFA but it had a lot of renderings that were surely labeled "Also Open Office". When your staff all spend bunches of their own money on hardware and audio subscriptions that attempt to block everything around them from their minds, there just might be some drawbacks to packing everyone into one space.
 
2021-04-21 1:15:33 PM  
It's the office furniture version of the recording industries format change every few years to force you to re-buy your library.
 
2021-04-21 1:17:29 PM  

FlashHarry: Open office means death to an advertising agency. Why? Because it means that the account people actually see how creatives work. But they don't understand that playing video games, throwing footballs around, surfing the web and general farking around IS how creatives work. So they get jealous and petty.


I'm pretty sure account people already know.

Plus, account people are more 9-5. If you need a draft of an ad presentation to give to a client on Monday morning, the creatives will stay all weekend, if needed, until whenever that burst of lightning hits and they have the campaign.
 
2021-04-21 1:20:30 PM  
Am I the only white-collar bum left who's looking forward to a return to the office? I feel like I'm going crazy cooped up in here, I can't chat with any of my coworkers without going through farking Teams, and my home desk is twisting my spine into a question mark. I want out of here!
 
2021-04-21 1:23:37 PM  

Fabric_Man: Am I the only white-collar bum left who's looking forward to a return to the office?


If I were going back to an office, I'd be happy only if I had either my own room with walls and a door or even just a damn cubicle at the least.

I'm at the point where I would never, ever work for a company with an open plan office that stuffed workers at tables like sardines.
 
2021-04-21 1:24:59 PM  

ZMugg: FlashHarry: Open office means death to an advertising agency. Why? Because it means that the account people actually see how creatives work. But they don't understand that playing video games, throwing footballs around, surfing the web and general farking around IS how creatives work. So they get jealous and petty.

That's not new: "Henry Ford's reaction to a consultant who questioned why he paid $50,000 a year to someone who spent most of his time with his feet on his desk. "Because a few years ago that man came up with something that saved me $2,000,000," he replied. "And when he had that idea his feet were exactly where they are now."


Yeah......except Henry Ford was an anti-Semite so.....yeah....
 
2021-04-21 1:25:58 PM  

Fabric_Man: Am I the only white-collar bum left who's looking forward to a return to the office? I feel like I'm going crazy cooped up in here, I can't chat with any of my coworkers without going through farking Teams, and my home desk is twisting my spine into a question mark. I want out of here!


You sound old.  The future is remote and isolated.  Get outda way!
 
2021-04-21 1:27:57 PM  
After months of Zoom meetings and lonely, couchbound workdays, office workers are ready to interact with their coworkers in real life.

I'm going to need you to fark off, at least 6 time zones away. Then come back, and fark off for 12 time zones in the other direction. Then stay there indefinitely. Thanks.
 
2021-04-21 1:38:18 PM  
So now they have run out of customers who didn't have an open plan office?

Nest step, say the open plan office so all your old customers have to come back so you can design them the next big idea.
 
2021-04-21 1:44:03 PM  
Most office employees at my job are in a wide open industrial looking space. No cubicle walls even. Way too late last year, management decided that wasn't great for distancing and installed 2 foot tall plexiglass barriers on the back of everyone's desk, ignoring the space on the sides between desks and the fact that most people move around a lot throughout the day, breathing all over the place. You'll be not at all shocked to learn than every single person in that space got covid, after those "barriers" were erected. And once they all came back, they all stopped wearing masks. I don't work with the best and brightest.
 
2021-04-21 2:00:20 PM  
They company I worked at spent millions on converting an old building into 4-stories of open office hell just before I left a couple of years ago (large reason why I left).  Bet they're feeling a little less smug about that decision now.
 
2021-04-21 2:02:20 PM  

Fabric_Man: Am I the only white-collar bum left who's looking forward to a return to the office? I feel like I'm going crazy cooped up in here, I can't chat with any of my coworkers without going through farking Teams, and my home desk is twisting my spine into a question mark. I want out of here!


I was able to go back to the office part-time (I'm WFH 2-days a week now) and it is just right.  I too was going stir crazy.  For me, a couple of days working at home and the remainder in office is just the right balance.
 
2021-04-21 2:02:41 PM  
"Inspired by the openness of the open floor plan but designed to address its noise and commotion, the Library is a collaborative, unassigned working space that combines large working tables, individual nooks, and cushy chairs for quiet focus. Like a train's quiet car, a suggested no-talking policy helps reduce distraction."

Collaborative with a no talking policy? How does that work? Are these people stupid or evil?

/why not both
 
2021-04-21 2:04:33 PM  
And apparently, open office is sexist (link FTA).

/F open office
 
2021-04-21 2:13:08 PM  

mcmnky: Collaborative with a no talking policy? How does that work? Are these people stupid or evil?


And my retort when my old company created an open office:

"It encourages collaboration? Well, obviously no one ever worked together before open plan offices were invented."
 
2021-04-21 2:14:24 PM  
Office is likely dead, which should free up for conversions to other uses, chiefly multifamily or condos, esp. near city cores.  Those 70s office parks like the one out of Office Space?  Not a good outcome for those.
 
2021-04-21 2:24:34 PM  

bostonguy: Fabric_Man: Am I the only white-collar bum left who's looking forward to a return to the office?

If I were going back to an office, I'd be happy only if I had either my own room with walls and a door or even just a damn cubicle at the least.

I'm at the point where I would never, ever work for a company with an open plan office that stuffed workers at tables like sardines.


Oh, it gets worse: we're going to hot-desking. We just got told to take all our personal shiat home.

I've had it. I'm going to WFH full time. We'll see how long it takes for them to tell me I can't. My boss agrees, and is doing the same. We'll both come in if our physical presence is necessary (engineers...doing debug, assembly, test in the lab, for example) but day to day stuff in an open office with no creature comforts, vs a nice quiet room at home?  No contest.

I started out in the 70s with an 8x10 cube. Now I'm down to a 5 foot space on a table with people pushing by behind my chair to get to the printer.
 
2021-04-21 2:28:22 PM  

mcmnky: "Inspired by the openness of the open floor plan but designed to address its noise and commotion, the Library is a collaborative, unassigned working space that combines large working tables, individual nooks, and cushy chairs for quiet focus. Like a train's quiet car, a suggested no-talking policy helps reduce distraction."

Collaborative with a no talking policy? How does that work? Are these people stupid or evil?

/why not both


Everyone has to learn sign language.
 
2021-04-21 2:40:23 PM  

Flowery Twats: Now I'm down to a 5 foot space on a table with people pushing by behind my chair to get to the printer.


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-04-21 2:44:01 PM  

OdradekRex: It's not just the open office.  Most companies are trying to offload unneeded space, as a lot of them are finally realizing that their staff can be as or more productive working from home.  There's a huge amount of office space available or on the sublease market in most areas right now, and prices are very low.


Sounds like they can get a cheap set to make a sequel to Margin Call.

(They used the savings for the set to get some good actors in that movie)
 
2021-04-21 3:11:05 PM  
"Open offices" basically means "where the unimportant people sit." They've always existed, they just didn't call it an "open office." They called it "the office."

It's how companies have always designated their hierarchy.
 
2021-04-21 3:14:13 PM  

Smelly Pirate Hooker: "Open offices" basically means "where the unimportant people sit." They've always existed, they just didn't call it an "open office." They called it "the office."

It's how companies have always designated their hierarchy.


Yup. At my old company, the two cofounders and the CFO had private offices.

And no one else.
 
2021-04-21 3:21:08 PM  

Fabric_Man: Am I the only white-collar bum left who's looking forward to a return to the office?


Seeing as how I've been working from home all week & getting more done than I do in the office PLUS not having to waste an hour + tolls driving to & from....I'ma say yes. Yes, you are.

F that shiat. I get more done working from home 4 days a week and going into the office 1 and I'm not as stressed out. That's a plus for me AND the company.
 
2021-04-21 3:32:48 PM  
When I used to work for Big Software, we had 2 workspaces where most of our people did their skull-sweating: in the Lab, and in the open office. The Lab was more for actual hands-on work, testing code and breaking it, stuff like that; the office was where we wrote documentation, made test plans, answered emails and so on.
Sometimes, when I felt like I needed to "punish" my cow-orkers for being dipshiats, I would sit at my desk in the open office and annoy 30-50 others with the sound of my people: a vintage "clicky" IBM Model M keyboard at my full 140-160 WPM typing speed
 
2021-04-21 3:47:19 PM  

bostonguy: Smelly Pirate Hooker: "Open offices" basically means "where the unimportant people sit." They've always existed, they just didn't call it an "open office." They called it "the office."

It's how companies have always designated their hierarchy.

Yup. At my old company, the two cofounders and the CFO had private offices.

And no one else.


I once shared a cube wall with a person from HR.  I knew who was pregnant, who was going in for an operation, how much you could get away with in sexually harassing a coworker,etc.  Some afternoons I barely got anything done.

Good times.
 
2021-04-21 4:08:14 PM  
pff got me scared tough we where going back to MS office.
 
2021-04-21 4:44:45 PM  
I never understood it. I was around for multiple companies transitioning to open office concepts. It never once sounded good on paper. It was like "we'll have everyone working in a big hapoy collaborative group" and then 90% of the design was fixing the problems that arose. Oh, we need fifteen small meeting rooms so small meetings don't disrupt everyone. And we need a few booths just to make lrivate phone calls. And we need special monitor covers so people working with sensitive information don't disclose anything. And now all of the windows need full blinds down all the time because the sun lights up the entire floor from sunrise to sunset. And...and...and. And in the end it still sucked.
 
2021-04-21 5:01:36 PM  

OdradekRex: It's not just the open office.  Most companies are trying to offload unneeded space, as a lot of them are finally realizing that their staff can be as or more productive working from home.  There's a huge amount of office space available or on the sublease market in most areas right now, and prices are very low.


[citation needed] on 'most.' Currently looking for a job and finding anything remote is like finding a needle in a haystack. 'Remote during covid' on the other hand is by far the most common. They're obviously planning on going back to somewhere.
 
2021-04-21 5:13:27 PM  
Oh holy shiat, yes!  When my company switched to an open floorplan, it was hailed as the greatest thing since the copy machine.  All it did was make it louder, less productive, and harder to heat and cool.  What a farking disaster.  We went from having offices to having these 50-foot white picnic table communal desks, and everyone got a 1.5-square-foot locker for their stuff.  It's hard to hide a 3-foot bong in a locker, let me tell you.
 
2021-04-21 5:31:10 PM  

Smelly Pirate Hooker: "Open offices" basically means "where the unimportant people sit." They've always existed, they just didn't call it an "open office." They called it "the office."

It's how companies have always designated their hierarchy.


Nail on the head. I worked in one a while back - ironically, an architectural firm. The principals touted it as 'more egalitarian', but it felt more like this:

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-04-21 6:11:42 PM  
I started in advertising 22 years ago as a writer/producer. my first job, which I had until getting launched into the sun with a bunch of other "expensive" creatives during the Great Recession, gave me a full-on office with a door I could close! Since then, I've worked for two more agencies before (mercifully) going client-side. And I haven't had an office since.

Luckily, my current employer is waaaay cool with me WFH or offsite whenever I want. Plus we have a nice deck and many, many quiet "pods" and green spaces. So it ain't that bad.

Miss my office door though.
 
2021-04-21 6:41:54 PM  
It's astonishing to me that no one seemed to anticipate any of the very obvious problems that open floorplans would create. What was the corporate benefit? A lack of privacy that means increased control? Is that it?
 
2021-04-21 7:28:29 PM  

Telos: mcmnky: "Inspired by the openness of the open floor plan but designed to address its noise and commotion, the Library is a collaborative, unassigned working space that combines large working tables, individual nooks, and cushy chairs for quiet focus. Like a train's quiet car, a suggested no-talking policy helps reduce distraction."

Collaborative with a no talking policy? How does that work? Are these people stupid or evil?

/why not both

Everyone has to learn sign language.


Fark user imageView Full Size


Tried that... kept getting fired
 
2021-04-21 9:19:33 PM  

austerity101: It's astonishing to me that no one seemed to anticipate any of the very obvious problems that open floorplans would create. What was the corporate benefit? A lack of privacy that means increased control? Is that it?


As people have said, they have much less space now than before.  Open floor plan requires less space per employee than cubicles and offices, which means less square footage to rent.  Outside of employees themselves, office space is the highest expense for white collar companies.
 
2021-04-22 2:06:28 AM  
I feel like a lot of people didn't read the article (I Know ) but what they advocate as the replacement for the open office - is the "more open office". "Libraries" and "Plazas". Unassigned spaces where people just work where they want - in other words you don't have a work space of your own at all.
 
2021-04-22 6:39:22 AM  

Nah'mean: Good! And fortunately enough, the same wizards who came up with the "open office" concept have new workplace configuration solutions to sell. How very convenient.


LibreOffice > OpenOffice
 
2021-04-22 10:20:32 AM  

Flowery Twats: bostonguy: Fabric_Man: Am I the only white-collar bum left who's looking forward to a return to the office?

If I were going back to an office, I'd be happy only if I had either my own room with walls and a door or even just a damn cubicle at the least.

I'm at the point where I would never, ever work for a company with an open plan office that stuffed workers at tables like sardines.

Oh, it gets worse: we're going to hot-desking. We just got told to take all our personal shiat home.

I've had it. I'm going to WFH full time. We'll see how long it takes for them to tell me I can't. My boss agrees, and is doing the same. We'll both come in if our physical presence is necessary (engineers...doing debug, assembly, test in the lab, for example) but day to day stuff in an open office with no creature comforts, vs a nice quiet room at home?  No contest.

I started out in the 70s with an 8x10 cube. Now I'm down to a 5 foot space on a table with people pushing by behind my chair to get to the printer.


Worked downtown Chicago. Hot desking. Arrived, found an open desk, opened laptop, switched on noise-cancelling headphones, started work. Then wondered why I was doing what I was doing, 5 days a week. It made zero sense to anyone who wasn't a boss.

WFH and will never go back to an office.
 
2021-04-22 10:26:23 AM  

sleze: And apparently, open office is sexist (link FTA).

/F open office


As a much younger man, I worked in the UK in local governement. We moved to a new office, all glass, plants and open office style. I sometimes started at people, mostly Jim who'd be sleeping as he was a drunk, sometimes Kristy b/c she was cute. Manager guy who selected the desks won a lot of praise for their ergonmics. Some dude on our team asked him why we had these tiny desks when we regularly worked with huge paper plans. Dude got canned not long after.

/also F open office.
 
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