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58% of High-Performance Employees Say They Need More Quiet Work Spaces (cnbc.com) 183

An anonymous reader shares a CNBC article: Behold the open industrial office space. At one moment, it feels like such a hip environment, bustling with easy communication and collaboration, innovation and headphones just behind every monitor. At another moment, the open office is the loudest, most annoying, distracting and unproductive environment one can imagine. What if the open industrial office is just part of a larger misguided fantasy? What if this office style is hurting our employees working on the hardest problems -- our high-performance employees (HPEs)? What if the open office is causing retention problems, and affecting the quality of our end products? As I outlined in my HPE article, executives and high-performance employees tend to optimize against completely different trade and life principles -- they generally have very different views of the world. This disconnect shows itself very clearly in the environmental conditions of our creative and technical offices. My latest anonymous survey shows that 58% of HPEs need more private spaces for problem solving, and 54% of HPEs find their office environment "too distracting."
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58% of High-Performance Employees Say They Need More Quiet Work Spaces

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:24PM (#54045553)

    Everyone hates open offices. Or they are the most efficient way to work. It depends on who writes the article and who is running the survey.

    I've worked in open spaces my entire life. I'm one of those so-called HPEs. I don't give a shit. If its too loud, either ask people to be quiet or put on headphones for the whole 5 minutes its noisy.

    Even at a Major Social Media Company, the noise was never bad for more than a few minutes when some brogrammer fools wanted to laugh about some stupid shit before they finally went to get a coffee and leave me in peace.

    Sounds like I don't like open spaces, eh? I do. I prefer them.

    • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:31PM (#54045625)

      I'm not selling anything, and loud office spaces make it hard to get work done. I end up trying to work from home as much as possible, even when it is theoretically less efficient.

      If they want to pack us in like sardines, fine, but: 1) Make cube walls go up to the ceiling, and give us doors and that both of these are reasonably sound-proof, 2) Make sure there is adequate parking for the number of employees you intend to pack in, 3) Make sure there are adequate restrooms for the number of employees you intend to pack in, and that those restrooms are cleaned frequently (ideally by same-gender janitor, so they don't shut down for 15 minutes every 15 minutes), 4) Make sure HVAC is capable of cooling an office with thousands of employees, thousands of computers, inbound sunlight, etc.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:51PM (#54045825)

        It's not just that they make it harder to get work done, they make it harder to collaborate too (SHOCK HORROR, that can't be true, the whole reason people do it is for collaboration, right?)

        When you need to collaborate with a colleague, this is the typical process:

        In individual or 2-up offices:

        • You go poke your head around the corner of your colleague's office door.
        • You have a quick discussion about the problem
        • You possibly pull in one other guy who's relevant
        • Because your meeting contained a small number of people, you come up with a solution, and you go back to efficiently doing work

        In an open office:

        • You go have a quiet discussion at someone's desk
        • You need to pull someone in, and realize that you now need to go to a conference room to discuss it
        • All the conference rooms are full, so you need to schedule a time
        • You invite a bunch of extra people, because you *might* need them, and if you don't have them there, then you might have wasted a bunch of extra time, and have to schedule another meeting
        • Your meeting happens 4 hours later than it otherwise would, and now involves a bunch more people, which reduces the productivity of the meeting

        Alternative way it might happen in an open office:

        • You go have a quiet discussion at someone's desk
        • You need to pull someone in, so you pull them over, and continue your discussion
        • You're now distracting a bunch of people around you, and stopping them working effectively
        • Someone overhears something out of context, and interjects, derailing the discussion
        • Everything spirals into an unproductive mess

        Final alternative way this might happen in an open office:

        • You sit at your desk and think "wow, it'll be really annoying to have to go and discuss this, because one of the above scenarios is going to happen"
        • You decide you'll just hack something in, and not collaborate at all

        Open offices are just not good places to collaborate at all.

        • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @05:52PM (#54046955)

          Alternative way it might happen in an open office:

                  You go have a quiet discussion at someone's desk
                  You need to pull someone in, so you pull them over, and continue your discussion
                  You're now distracting a bunch of people around you, and stopping them working effectively
                  Someone overhears something out of context, and interjects, derailing the discussion
                  Everything spirals into an unproductive mess

          This is my experience with open offices.

        • We've came to the same observation. We still want some collaboration between members and currently have a few large open spaces with a lot of desks, and we've found out from feedback from everyone involved that if there are sectioned off areas with 4-6 desks each the distractions are much lower (we've tested this at a different site.)

      • Yep. Every HPE at my office works at least half a day from home. Come in to do the talking that isn't as easy via phone/text/email.

      • My cube is now slightly less than 6'x6', so I can reach out and touch opposite walls at the same time, but, hey, I have a real window, so that's nice.

        If those walls went to the 9' ceiling, I think I'd get severe claustrophobia - even with the window.

        Just as well, less distractions at home with the wife and kids than in the office with the co-workers.

      • by Dayze!Confused ( 717774 ) <slashdot@org.ohyonghao@com> on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @04:50PM (#54046437) Homepage Journal

        It's funny how scared Americans are of restrooms and genders. I spent a decade in Taiwan where it isn't uncommon for the female janitors to walk in and clean the men's restroom. You know what happens? Everybody just goes about their business. If I'm taking a shit I keep the door closed, if I'm using a urinal I point my dick at the urinal, shake it off, and put it back in my pants without flashing them, offering them the same level of respect that I do the other male occupants. It's really not a big deal and it's funny how much Americans get their briefs tied up in a knot over it.

        • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @05:54PM (#54046971)

          In America, that won't work; someone will sue for sexual harassment or something, or someone else will complain because their religion forbids it, etc.

          In Taiwan, you don't have people happy to sue for harassment, and you don't have conservative religious nuts.

          • To be fair, America is fucking retarded when it comes to sex and genders. The puritans are still in control, and every time we make some headway into leaving the 1500s they go and throw a tantrum about how how it'll stop the conservatives from being able to molest children if trans people can go pee behind a closed door or some other mentally retarded bullshit like that.

      • 1) Make cube walls go up to the ceiling, and give us doors and that both of these are reasonably sound-proof, [...] 4) Make sure HVAC is capable of cooling an office with thousands of employees, thousands of computers, inbound sunlight, etc.

        Hm. We have all this small spaces with cube walls going up to the ceiling and interfering with airflow.

        That'll be interesting.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      Yeah...but...but....millennial hipsters!

      Also vinyl records sound better than CD's. The pops and cracks add character, man!

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        Also vinyl records sound better than CD's. The pops and cracks add character, man!

        Pops and cracks are bad, but they're not nearly as bad as the excessive compression typical for CD's.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Who calls themselves a high performance employee? The best employers I've ever worked with considered their productivity as normal, not excessive. Only LPE talk about how they are high performance.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:49PM (#54045813)

      Everyone hates open offices

      That's why Microsoft Office is still such a big seller :(

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:50PM (#54045819)

      The problem is that Bosses, Managers and Sales Extraverts, so these open (Noisy) environments are comfortable to them, and all the noise and hustle and bustle is comforting to them that people are working and excited on what they are doing.
      While the Problem Solvers tend to be introverts will prefer the quiet space, to be alone with their thoughts, try things make mistakes without judgement, and sit down and really focus on the problem at hand. But to those managers seeing the guy just sit there and think looks horribly unproductive.

      That said most of the High Performance employees are also professionals so when things get loud or distraction just just deal with it. However most of them would be happier if they are working in a quiet location than a loud active room.

    • And yet he has data to back it up so piss off...
    • You obviously don't have some of the same co workers I do, that keep the office at a static 65db during the workday from all their chatter.

      It got so bad I changed my work hours by 3 hours just to ensure I had no interruptions for at least that in a day.

  • by StarryEyed ( 2642737 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:27PM (#54045577)

    It's weird how it's a surprise that such an obviously terrible idea is discovered to be a terrible idea.

    • It's weird how it's a surprise that such an obviously terrible idea is discovered to be a terrible idea.

      Surprise or not, it's the orthodoxy and it needs challenged.

    • The idea isn't necessarily terrible, it depends on a couple of things:
      - Mix of workers, i.e. is it all programmers / thinkers / creative people or are there also people who need to talk a lot to each other or on the phone mixed in?
      - If the office is already noisy, people tend to have less consideration about keeping quiet. However if the place is usually quiet, people tend to lower their voice or leave the room when having a longer conversation. Kind of like the quiet section on the train. I've worked
      • "because people made an effort not to make a lot of noise"

        You answered your own question.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Personally, I found a private office to be far superior. Where I could control the lighting, heating and sound levels. Where light fittings would be placed specifically to provide quality light on my work surfaces and avoid undesired glare. Where should I choose, music of my choice could be quietly played, where I could decorate with restraint to make the space more comfortable and where, most importantly, I could adjust the work space to substantially improve productivity.

        I was very focused on maximising

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I find a really quiet office distracting. I end up with headphones and white noise, but they get uncomfortable after long periods.

      Maybe in not an "HPE".

  • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:28PM (#54045593)
    When I'm in the office I can't hear myself think, and anyone I'm on the phone with hears everyone around me. It loses us customers as they believe it wholly unprofessional. My employer has an open layout approach and no white noise along with no noise cancelling headsets, so all my customers and I hear is everyone around me. And some of these assholes take pride in being loud("you're telling me to change who I am!"). Luckily, I work from home or on the road the majority of the time, so I don't have to deal with it, but, ultimately, fuck open layouts. Give me offices, or at least tall cubes.
  • I find myself largely immune to the hustle and bustle of our open office plan. While most require noise-canceling headphones in order to get anything accomplished, it actually energizes me more than inhibits me.

    As someone who went to middle school in one of the Open Classroom schools of the 1970s [wikipedia.org] which had not yet moved to completely physical partitions between rooms, I hypothesize this may have a lot to do with it. I was trained for 4+ years on how to operate with many noise distractions.

    • I find myself largely immune to the hustle and bustle of our open office plan. While most require noise-canceling headphones in order to get anything accomplished, it actually energizes me more than inhibits me.

      As someone who went to middle school in one of the Open Classroom schools of the 1970s [wikipedia.org] which had not yet moved to completely physical partitions between rooms, I hypothesize this may have a lot to do with it. I was trained for 4+ years on how to operate with many noise distractions.

      I think the issue is that there are certain ways of thinking that come with difficulty in dealing with background noise. A feature of autism, for example, is difficulty filtering sensory input. This is not necessarily a negative feature -- filtering seems to have a blinkering effect, with people filtering out ideas that are not immediately seen as related to the task or problem at hand. However, if you don't filter, you see a lot of the bigger picture, and are more likely to think outside the box. Mixed met

    • by davecb ( 6526 ) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:52PM (#54045833) Homepage Journal

      When my job is mostly tech lead, a small open office with dev, ops and qa adjacent is wonderfull: you get "small office telepathy".

      When I'm trying to drill down and find a subtle bug, its a consant clamor of "oooh, shiny!"

    • Open Classroom schools of the 1970s

      Look out. They're bringing those back over here in NZ. It's a total farce. One disruptive child can bring the whole place to its knees.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:31PM (#54045623) Journal

    Of course it's hard to concentrate and get things accomplished when you are in meetings 6 hours a day talking about what your going to do rather than doing it.

  • Who Says That? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:32PM (#54045633)
    This sounds like a sales pitch and nothing else:

    At one moment, it feels like such a hip environment, bustling with easy communication and collaboration, innovation and headphones just behind every monitor.

    How many employees have ever said this? Open spaces are cheaper per sq ft and allow easier monitoring of personnel, but that doesn't sound good in a pro/con discussion.

    • Yes, open spaces make it easy to monitor, but that works against HPEs. Being able to deep thought a project is how these things get accomplished. Read that it takes upwards of 50 minutes to get back to Deep thought (see previous slashdot articles on distracted employees) and a minimum of 5-15 minutes to get back in rhythm just because of an email, phone call, question.

      Now imagine distractions 2-3 times an hour at minimum. It is amazing work gets done.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      This sounds like a sales pitch and nothing else:

      At one moment, it feels like such a hip environment, bustling with easy communication and collaboration, innovation and headphones just behind every monitor.

      How many employees have ever said this? Open spaces are cheaper per sq ft and allow easier monitoring of personnel, but that doesn't sound good in a pro/con discussion.

      No employee never. But it does look impressive for the customers when they see the hustle and bustle that goes on. And if you look at all t

    • Ok, let's turn it around. Smart businesses who use open office areas try to maintain the remaining space for some types of amenity spaces-- team rooms, cafes, extra circulation, couches, etc. It becomes very hard to have less than 200 square feet per person on average in the US, which ends up being 35-50 square feet of personal space, 20-30 shared square feet of direct circulation space, 10-20 square feet of indirect circulation, and about 100 square feet of common areas. Parking is generally only design
    • When I interviewed at Google, the office was filled with groups of people talking amongst themselves. The combined conversations and the design of the space resulted in a cacophony. Plus, the space was relatively tight, so through traffic was passing by not far behind people seated at their desks. I recall thinking that there was no way that I could focus, even semi-isolated with headphones, in that environment and was thinking that maybe I should have ended the interview then.

      I have worked in a few open

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:33PM (#54045637)

    I worked for a firm that did the open space thing. Devs listening to ColdPlay or Neutral Milk Hotel at full volume is one thing, where I just used earphones. Other people running around popping each other with Nerf guns, missing, and hitting other people who were trying to concentrate due to a sprint was another. The fact that if you got up and went for a break, there would be someone sitting at your computer talking with someone didn't help either. Especially the jackasses who kept trying random passwords on any machine they sat at, locking someone out for 20+ minutes.

    Glad I moved on from that environment. Every open area workplace I've been at was a waste of time, with nothing getting done.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Are you sure you weren't actually in a college dorm and didn't realize it?

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      That was inconsiderate coworkers, not the open space causing the problem. I've seen those same things in a normal cube environment too. Although no place that I've worked - open or closed - had it to the degree you seem to.

  • It was only when I read the article the third time that I clued in they weren't talking about HP Enterprise employees, but rather High Performance Employees (HPE).
    Hate it when IT re-uses acronyms to mean something else.

  • It doesn't even have to be an open office - those rooms with glass doors may look nice, but it's a PITA whenever a secretary in high heels walks by. Managers shouldn't be astonished that there are Dilbert cartoons.
  • CHEAP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:34PM (#54045661)

    The open floorpan is not there to be hip, innovative or to facilitate collaboration. It is the CHEAPEST possible way to provide working space to a lot of people. All of that other stuff is just a con.

    • Re:CHEAP (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Headw1nd ( 829599 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @04:16PM (#54046081)
      Architect here, this is the correct answer. Open plan offices are far more space efficient than cubes, to say nothing of the enormous costs of actual separate rooms. The thing that people don't seem to realize is that this was almost always the case for peons, look at offices from the early part of the 20th century: They are just open rooms with desks. Cubicles were actually an upgrade.
      • It's a false economy. We're talking about knowledge workers here, people who cost the company $100,000 or more per year in salary and benefits. Spending an extra $5,000 on additional office space will pay off if it increases their productivity by more than 5%; that's 100 square feet of $50/square foot office space which is pretty expensive space. (New York City is the only US market where the average cost of office space is that high, though offices in premium locations are more than that in many major citi
        • I certainly won't disagree with you. I've read more than my share of research and I'm well aware of how counterproductive open-plan offices are, but they are what the market demands. Employers do not want to pay for floorspace. Especially now, when they use telecommuting as an excuse to shrink office space even further .
  • Noise? What is this noise thing you speak of? I don't hear any noise...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This has been known for a long time (with studies to back it up). It's a bit puzzling that open concept is still considered "hip" or novel when they've been around for at least 15 years now. AFAIK the real reason they were foisted on us was to save companies money by not having to invest in as much furniture (cube walls) or physical structures (physical walls). Another "benefit" was that it made the panopticon approach of management easier.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      they've been around for at least 15 years now

      Oh, they've been around for much longer than 15 years [washington.edu]. That photo is actually a pretty nice layout with standing drafting tables. Picture a bare room of similar dimensions with row after row of 6 foot metal desks. And the rows are so close together that if you need to get up from your desk, 10 people have to suck in their guts and pull their chairs forward so you can squeeze by to the aisle.

      Now, imagine that every fifth person is the idiot nephew of some big shot manager. Who thinks work is all about runni

  • By design (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:38PM (#54045707)
    >> What if the open office is causing retention problems

    That's part of the design, especially in cases where established corporations move to open offices (sometimes coupled with a move "downtown"). The idea is to flush the older, more expensive workers out without actually creating an age-ist environment that would get the company sued.

    >> affecting the quality of our end products?

    Let me know when you see "quality" as a top goal of a software group.

    >> executives and high-performance employees tend to optimize against completely different trade and life principles

    Not necessarily true. Remember that Superbowl commercial where some douche walks through an open office and then goes into his private office? In that respect, many executives and HPEs (not HPVs - that's an STD) are similar.

    >> 54% of HPEs find their office environment "too distracting."

    I actually like open offices more than most people, but I do find myself bitching that I'm distracted and then taking a long walk or coffee break I didn't really need, so thanks everyone else for creating the perception that bugging out of the open office for extended periods is cool.
    • "...so thanks everyone else for creating the perception that bugging out of the open office for extended periods is cool."

      On behalf of myself and everyone else pertinent, you're welcome.

  • Retention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wierdling ( 609715 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:39PM (#54045709) Homepage
    The only way this would affect my retention at a company is if they went to the open office layout after I had already started working there, because there is no way in hell I would take a job where I am expected to do my coding in an open office environment. Cubes are bad enough, an open office would just kill all of my productivity.
    • Yes, this. I quit an otherwise excellent position because they changed to an open office layout. It was so destructive to my ability to produce quality work in good time that I no longer felt that the company was getting its money's worth out of me.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:39PM (#54045711) Homepage Journal

    It's no surprise that chatty marketing types, who are promoting their companies as cool places to work, show off their open office plan marketing areas.
     
    After three remodels at my last office, we finally decided on (nearly) floor to ceiling cubicle walls. It was quieter than a library, it was glorious to work there, sound was trapped really well. Moving to an open office plan in another group on the other side of the floor, I got stuck next to some very chatty employees, my productivity plummeted to about 15% of what it was before.
     
    I think open office plans are great for marketing types, maybe some of the sales people, even management, but for engineers it's really truly awful. Most of the engineers at my new company have bought noise canceling headphones at $300 a pop. I get more done at home by a country mile.

    • >> maybe some of the sales people

      Trust me - salespeople hate open offices even more than we do. They measure status by commissions, size/location of office (no door - doesn't count), company car, etc. And having other people close enough so their prospects can hear them talk over the phone or a web conference is drop-dead unprofessional and a clear indication to the prospect that they're chatting with some low-level schmuck that might need his mommy, er, manager to help negotiate final terms.
    • This has much more to do with the nature of the folks you work with than the office layout. I had the same office-supply-store cubical wall layout in two separate groups. Sure, they were ~6 feet tall and provided some amount of privacy... but when working with a lot of extroverted artists, they don't shield anything from the yells of "hey! did you fix that one thing?". Next group had the same layout, but was full of mathematicians and physicists (introverts). You could hear a pin drop most days, people even

  • by toonces33 ( 841696 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:42PM (#54045735)

    It is far too distracting when you have voices in the hall, phones ringing or anything else. Even having my own cell phone ring pisses me off sometimes, as it breaks my concentration. Of course it isn't every day that I need to concentrate like this, but I appreciate having that ability when the need arises.

    Sometimes I work from home, but if my wife is around, her work has her on the phone all of the time, and I can't concentrate. She tells me that "I can't multitask", but to me multitasking is largely a myth unless the tasks are all fairly trivial and the mental context switching overhead is relatively small. A lot of "multitasking" that I see people doing amounts to "multi-goofing off".

  • Do Low performance employees also find the office distracting?
    Do they blame it?

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:49PM (#54045803)

    Translation: I'm spamming my blog.

      - Oversize body typeface --- check.
      - Lots of margins/whitespace ---- check
      - Large, unrelated photo illustration ---- check
      - Bonus: We're on Medium

  • This (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:52PM (#54045841)

    I'm a cyber defense analyst for my organization. I work in a bull pen style office. I type away most of the day, taking a few breaks throughout for refreshments, coffee, read the latest on slashdot, etc... but mostly I work. I come to work to well... work. The non-technical workers, are the most unproductive and distracting people in my vicinity... especially the managers in the offices that surround my bull pen area and even more so the managers that don't understand what I do at all.

    I had a trash can behind my desk for the longest time - a community trash can - that was the responsibility of the pen workers to empty on a daily basis. The manager in the office right behind me, a completely toxic dumb ass that should be fired, had a daily ritual around 3 pm every day where he would empty his office's personal trash can into the community trash can. Since I'm the closest employee to said trash can and he has no idea about or respect for what I do for the organization, to him it was my job to take it out, every day. Usually by 3 pm, I'm in some coding nirvana, banging out some slick new tool in python or whatnot... IE: not to be disturbed. But every day at 3 pm, that bastard would come to me and tell me that he needed me to drop what I was doing and take out the trash immediately.

    This was until one day when he couldn't find me because I was in a classified, closed door, need-to-know video conference about my organization's cyber defense posture with several other sites. Said manager couldn't find me and apparently asked around as to where I was. He finally tracked me down, barged into the conference room without proper clearance, need-to-know, etc... and while on the video conference screen... visible to the remote ends... he told me that I needed to leave that meeting right away to take out the trash.

    I gladly told him ok, went and grabbed the entire trash can, dumped the ENTIRE trash can into the dumpster outside, and returned to my meeting.

    He was confused about the lack of trash can for a few days. Then brought up that I must have hidden the trash can. Talked to my manager who defended me and then threw in the fact that the dumb ass barged in on a meeting that he wasn't allowed to be in to badger his top worker for no apparent reason. After leveraging the fact that my manager could report him to HR for his security violation, the dumb ass now hasn't even uttered a word to me. He takes out his own trash.

    Now if I could only get rid of the people around me that talk too loud on their phones, play music on speakers instead of head phones, and cause a variety of other distractions... perhaps I could get some more work done so I can go home for the day and spend time with my family.

  • by locopuyo ( 1433631 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:54PM (#54045861) Homepage
    HPE here. This is why I work from home, alone.
  • Everybody is different and thinks and work differently. Any "always do X" rule for work or project management should be taken with a grain of salt.

  • by Tempest_2084 ( 605915 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @03:58PM (#54045901)
    Upper management at my office read whatever trendy report that started this whole open office debacle and decided that it would be the greatest thing ever. They went whole hog and got the long single desks with itty bitty dividers between them and 'chairs' that look like overgrown foot stools. Everyone in the office absolutely HATES the new floor plan. They went from moderate sized half-wall cubicals that provided a bit of privacy to a four foot desk with a foot high dividers. Not only is there almost no place to put anything (the computer and phone take up 75% of the desk) there's absolutely zero privacy. When they first proposed the idea they pretended to ask for employee input (which was overwhelmingly negative) but we all knew it was a farce since they already had all the new desks ordered and stored away.

    Thankfully I'm in a locked and secure lab, so when they came around to see if they could put the new desks in the lab we sent them packing (the same morons wanted to rip out our network closet and turn it into a managers office). Now everyone suddenly wants to be on our team just to be back in a cubical. I seriously think that I would have looked for a new job if I was forced into one of those open desks.
  • 1. place those 10x devs in rooms WITHOUT the opposite sex (because we are talking about the 10x, right? It's such a better name than HPE...)
    2. remove all forms of entertainment of that office (from consoles to rubik cubes, ban personal mementos in the office desk, personal phones, etc etc)
    3. invest in some active noise cancelling gear for them for good measure
    4. get a full-time psychologist to assess those with actual asperger's on the office, so they get special needs taken care of

    And to the 4% that answer

  • I shit Sherlock (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @04:11PM (#54046015)
    Open offices have NEVER been about productivity. They've been about lower cost per employee, and making sure you can "keep an eye" on your less productive employees. The cost on everyone else is someone else's cost center and so doesn't matter.
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @04:11PM (#54046021)
    ... they reduce office costs. The move from walled offices to cubicles to industrial open spaces was not done because productivity increased. It was done because each step was cheaper to build and much easier (and cheaper) to modify than the previous step.
  • When you've worked in a bullpen, the open office looks like heaven.

  • by oic0 ( 1864384 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2017 @04:22PM (#54046155)
    If I'm writing code or a query, I want peace and quiet. I'm If I'm troubleshooting I want people I can tell "hey, you seen this before"? Or "hey, did you do something to the blahblah server?"Problem is when you do both, which I do. I'm stuck in an open layout and mostly just grit my teeth and work slower when I'm doing things that require lots of concentration.
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      I prefer mostly to have peace and quiet, and when I need a 2nd opinion, I fire up a google chat with a colleague, if it is a 2-3 line talk, otherwise one of us get up and gets to meet the other.
      It is much better...
  • Sure, they don't completely eliminate talking and other noises but they're good enough. If they're not, you're being too picky and aren't as high performant as you think you are.
  • Ain’t gonna happen.

    ’cause it stands in the way of fat executive bonuses, and those guys already have a closed office.

  • Headphones...

    I work in a huge cube farm with low walls. I can literally see 50+ people sitting in their offices while I sit in mine. The ONLY way I can work is with my over the ear, noise blocking headphones... It's either that or I am forever getting distracted by multiple conversations, loud typists and an argument or two. At least they banned personal audio equipment unless it plays though headphones and nobody is allowed speakers for their computers (Not that you'd have room for them on the tiny desk

  • Maybe they should ask low performance employees what they need!

    High performance employees clearly already have what they need.

  • I am an older tech guy. I remember reading a book in the 1970's that had a chapter addressing programmer productivity and studies that had been done. All showed that the best environment for programmers were small offices with doors that closed and phones that could be muted. Many, many studies since then have reconfirmed this but the trend for offices has been open space which is shown to reduce productivity. The reason for the office space trend is, of course cost. Later we came up with the rationale

  • It simply comes down to your social comfort levels. For extroverted people, working in teams and an open space make great sense. For the introverts, we want to left the fuck alone. We don't need a "team", we're to the right of the curve and adding "help" just slows us down. All this study shows is the correlation that introverts are the HPEs.

  • Open offices are hell. We often forget that cubicles were invented, to the cheers of office workers everywhere, because they made it possible to eliminate many of the worst aspects of the open office layout that was standard before their invention.

"Luke, I'm yer father, eh. Come over to the dark side, you hoser." -- Dave Thomas, "Strange Brew"

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