Are open office plans the absolute worst? | The Tylt
70 percent of U.S. office spaces have an open office plan (with no or low partitions between employees). Open office plans are supposed to symbolize transparency, flatten the hierarchy (windows for everyone!) and promote communication and camaraderie. But some say open offices are just about cutting costs while keeping a watchful eye on workers, many of whom bemoan the loss of privacy and the myriad of distractions. Are you a fan of the open office plan? 👔
Are open office plans the absolute worst?
Many say open office plans benefit a company's bottom line, not their workers, and that they cut costs at the expense of employees' privacy, peace, and quiet. They're less about equality and more about the Lumberghs of the world being able to play Big Brother:
These new floor plans are ideal for maximizing a company’s space while minimizing costs. 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 employers are getting a false sense of improved productivity.
This Inc writer derides old-school office plans with their separate offices and closed doors as stifling and hierarchical. As a CEO, he finds open plans far more dynamic, and characterizes closed offices as...
... compartmentalized, the kind of place where the staff don't feel comfortable talking to the executives. A layout where the junior employees are stuck in the middle and the senior-level people are tucked away behind closed doors, kind of like Mad Men.
People who hate them really, really hate them. The loss of privacy and noise distractions are the biggest complaints about open offices.
noise cancelling headphones. a must-have for the 21st Century Hell that is an open-office floor plan— michael raumer (@mindpivot) January 13, 2017
The open office plan is a hallmark of Silicon Valley. Shouldn't that alone recommended it as positive? The Washington Post notes:
Silicon Valley has been the leader in bringing down the dividers. Google, Yahoo, eBay, Goldman Sachs and American Express are all adherents. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg enlisted famed architect Frank Gehry to design the largest open floor plan in the world, housing nearly 3,000 engineers.