How do I hate open plan offices? Let me count the 63 ways

How do I hate open plan offices? Let me count the 63 ways

My new column is out in The Drum:

Open office workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your high blood pressure.

If you work in marketing, media or high-tech startups, you probably spend the day in an environment worse than the one in Office Space. Yes, here are just a few reasons why shared workspaces give you a permanent case of the Mondays.

  1. You sit in an open office because it is supposedly cheaper. But when you adjust for a 15% ‘productivity tax’ on each employee, the design actually leads to a net loss of $578,000 per year.
  2. Top executives and investors think only about the short-term savings of open offices and not the long-term cost.
  3. VCs think that having anything but an open office is a waste of their money.
  4. I do not want to smell the chicken vindaloo you are having for lunch.
  5. No one does their fucking dishes.
  6. If ‘collaboration’ is the reason for open offices, then why does everyone sit in rows with headphones all day and stare silently at their computer screens?
  7. Open offices are meant to increase face-to-face collaboration but actually reduce it.
  8. The ‘collaboration’ reason is bullshit. Check the nose length of any boss who says otherwise.
  9. Certainly no one ever collaborated before in companies without open offices.
  10. How much ‘collaboration’ do you really need to do your job? Useless, redundant meetings are bad enough.
  11. There is more internal group tension in open offices than in Oasis.
  12. People are frustrated by distractions.
  13. Workers are less productive when they hear background noise.
  14. 95% say working privately is important to them while 31% have to leave the office to get work done.
  15. Workers lose more than an hour per day due to distractions.
  16. A typical open office worker is interrupted every 11 minutes and needs up to 25 minutes to refocus on the original task.
  17. Independent designer Amar Singh: “Cool, you’re going to spend a fuck ton of money on talented engineers and designers and then put them in an environment where they’re constantly distracted. Airtight plan.”
  18. “Slack is like an open office placed right in my skull.”
  19. Panasonic actually released the ludicrous Wear Space: “A prototype product that can only really be described as horse blinders for humans. The wraparound head-shield, which includes noise-cancelling headphones, is a sleek, contemporary way to prevent distractions from colleagues in open-plan offices.”
  20. If open offices are so wonderful, then why do most top executives give themselves private offices?

Read the full column in The Drum.

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