Against The Open Office Floor Plan

March 3rd, 2015

Offices don’t inspire most people to feel and do their best. Increasingly many Americans prefer jobs that allow them to work from home or, like the tech talent 10x represents, to work as freelancers. Unfortunately, the now-standard “open office” popularized by companies like Google is especially oppressive.Aimed at creating more communally-focused work environments, open offices can facilitate camaraderie and conversation. But, these benefits mask the detriments. The New Yorker’s The Open-Office Trap looks at the research condemning the impact of open office organization upon worker productivity and health. Distractions, noise, lack of privacy and increased illness have all been cited as consequences of pushing workers into such environments. Lindsay Kaufman further discusses the particularly critical issue of privacy in the Washington Post’s Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace.

The obsolescence of workplaces has been discussed by many (e.g., Jason Fried’s famous TED Talk, Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work). 10x Management knows from experience that tech workers perform better when given control over the time and space that affects their creative energy. As we discussed in a previous post, Powered By Happiness: Working From Wherevs, workers need flexibility in determining where and when they will work best: a one-size-fits-all model can’t satisfy the needs of individual workers nor different tasks. Forbes Top 10 Benefits of Working From Home summarizes employees’ views in a survey conducted by Microsoft:

10) Environmentally friendly (23%)
9) More time with family (29%)
8) Less stressful environment (38%)
7) Quieter atmosphere (43%)
6) Eliminate long commute (44%)
5) Less distractions (44%)
4) More productive (45%)
3) Avoid traffic (47%)
2) Save gas (55%)
1) Work/home balance (60%)