May 3, 2014
IN THE OPEN OFFICE...:
This column will change your life: open-plan offices : 'The "flexibility" of the modern office mainly just means freedom for the most powerful forces to assert themselves (Oliver Burkeman, 2 May 2014, The Guardian)
Earlier this year, the Manhattan advertising firm the Barbarian Group unveiled its "superdesk": one huge, continuous single desk for all 125 staff, which it describes as "4,400 square feet of undulating, unbroken awesomeness to keep people and ideas flowing". Its surface swoops upwards into archways, creating nooks underneath for meetings, down to sitting height, then up again, so employees can work standing up. Like many such office innovations, it's tremendously forward-thinking, and totally undermined by psychology research. There's overwhelming evidence that open offices are associated with lower job satisfaction; poorer interpersonal relations; worse concentration and creativity; damaged sleep, thanks to people working farther from windows; and more sickness, due to the potential for infection. Yet the open-plan idea seems too powerful to resist. How could more spontaneous interactions between workers be a bad thing? Actually, experts who have studied the matter say those off-the-cuff chats are pretty superficial, because people are self-conscious about being overheard. But never mind the data: feel that free-flowing, laid-back awesomeness!
...everyone can see your screen.
Posted by Orrin Judd at May 3, 2014 12:36 PM
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