Open offices are overrated

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If you work in an office, there’s a good chance it’s an open one. How did we get here? And why is it so bad?

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Open offices have been around a surprisingly long time. But they’re relatively misunderstood for their role in workplace culture. Where did open offices and cubicles come from, and are they really what we want?

This episode of Overrated explores the history, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Herman Miller, and other key figures in the office design movement. Our workplaces haven’t always been this way — this is how we got here.

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37 COMMENTS

  1. i dont like open offices either because there's always this awkward atmosphere and I can't relax like everyone can see me although no one is looking its just feel that way. I can't focus

  2. When I first got a private office with a door to work in, I never knew what true concentration and productivity looked like. It's so quiet that you can hear a pin drop on the floor. That's the level of concentration that programmers need to get work done.

  3. I work as a software developer and we have small teams around the city and it’s amazing. It’s like 3 desks a room and everyone is talking

  4. I like those architecture vox vidéos it's nlt that common to see good architecture videos i'm pretty sure they have some architects in their staff because they really know what they're talking about

  5. I would take any cubicle over open office. I have Aspergers and that much stimulation in addition to the focus needed to work productively could lead to mental breakdowns for me

  6. Open offices means engaging pointless shallow small talk and revealing your private business to anyone.

  7. I live in Racine ,WI and the Johnson wax building is awesome. Everything is still as is in ther, furnishings and all

  8. Open office layouts are a cesspool where disease and contagion spread easily. Hopefully, people will learn from this pandemic and ban open-offices altogether.

  9. I remember when I was part of the management team that designed new working spaces at a new building, I emphasised the inclusion of quiet rooms to the open office space. Developers and Introverts loved them, they were 6 to 8 seater rooms and the rules were simple, no phone calls and no printers and minimal talking.

  10. i got hypertension working in a noisy open office. people scream, managers peek every 5 seconds to your work, in my office, some people play loud music. . how can i concentrate on my work?my work need silence

  11. I used to work in an open office, people there love to play music in loudspeaker, imagine a small office with 2-3 people playing in loudspeaker with different music, they are even annoyed when they would ask me stuffs regarding work and I could not hear them through my earphones (I have to listen to a high volume of my own playlist for concentration) so I couldn't respond immediately.

  12. Compare these offices to pictures of sweat shops. All you have to do is replace the computers with sewing machines. Major step backwards.

  13. I gotta say it depends on where you work and the people you work with. I've found that open offices in the places I have worked tend to lead to more communication because of the people.

  14. It's not going to matter much as more people transition into gig jobs and working remotely… at least for the office-based type of work.

  15. I would not be afraid to move to the open office, I would be horrified…. Why I there no improvement on this?

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