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posted by n1 on Wednesday December 31 2014, @01:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the can't-hear-myself-think dept.

Lindsey Kaufman writes in the Washington Post that despite its obvious problems, the open-office model has continued to encroach on workers across the country with about 70 percent of US. offices having no or low partitions. Silcon Valley has led the way with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg enlisting famed architect Frank Gehry to design the largest open floor plan in the world, housing nearly 3,000 engineers with a single room, stretching 10 acres, where everyone will sit in the open with moveable furniture. Michael Bloomberg was an early adopter of the open-space trend, saying it promoted transparency and fairness. Bosses love the ability to keep a closer eye on their employees, ensuring clandestine porn-watching, constant social media-browsing and unlimited personal cellphone use isn’t occupying billing hours. But according to Kaufman employers are getting a false sense of improved productivity with a 2013 study showing that many workers in open offices are frustrated by distractions that lead to poorer work performance. Nearly half of the surveyed workers in open offices said the lack of sound privacy was a significant problem for them and more than 30 percent complained about the lack of visual privacy. The New Yorker, in a review of research on this nouveau workplace design, determined that the benefits in building camaraderie simply mask the negative effects on work performance. While employees feel like they’re part of a laid-back, innovative enterprise, the environment ultimately damages workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction says Kaufman. "Though multitasking millennials seem to be more open to distraction as a workplace norm, the wholehearted embrace of open offices may be ingraining a cycle of under-performance in their generation," writes Maria Konnikova. "They enjoy, build, and proselytize for open offices, but may also suffer the most from them in the long run."

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Wednesday December 31 2014, @12:50PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday December 31 2014, @12:50PM (#130497)

    despite what you may think a lot of work gets done too

    With all due respect, using the UK as a shining example of the right thing to do is not wise. Every once in a while they'll be some story about how if the UK rejoined the colonies, England would be one of the poorest per capita income states in the USA, poorer than even our deep south which for all intents and purposes is basically 3rd world villages transplanted into the USA.

    I'm no fool and you guys being hopelessly screwed up "in general on average" doesn't mean every small component of what you do is inherently screwed up. But "hey guize we make Mississippi look wealthy and we do it all the time so it must be a great idea" puts open offices right up there with sniffing gasoline (aka petrol) or drinking large quantities of cough syrup.

    I like that you guys are dirt poor, because every time the local savages do something typically savage, as they often do, their political apologists always claim they only act like savages because they're poor, and then I bring up you UK people who despite your grinding poverty generally are more civilized and better educated than us, and your crime rate is what we would consider a rounding error compared to our huge rates. So just because you live in poverty and can't run an economy other than into the ground, doesn't mean I don't respect your countries considerable achievements in numerous other areas.

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  • (Score: 2) by bd on Wednesday December 31 2014, @02:15PM

    by bd (2773) on Wednesday December 31 2014, @02:15PM (#130522)

    While I do share your dislike for open office arrangements, I must admit I have no idea whether office culture in the UK (or a bit of common sense regarding noise) could make them work.

    Nevertheless, for me as a foreigner, it is really hard to discern whether what you posted could make native speakers perceive you as funny or an ignorant.
    The choice of words and comparisons does seem quite harsh.

    Maybe it would be helpful if, in the future, you could include something like APPLAUSE! tags where one is supposed to laugh?