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iDoneThis blog : Reconsidering the Startup Open Floor Plan Office

Stashed in: Facebook!, Zuck!, Productivity, Engineers!, Startup Offices, Introverts!

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I was always an open plan advocate until I saw the NYT story a while back... what do all y'all think?

I posted about them a while back too. Results are not good.

Via Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking:

Open-plan offices have been found to reduce productivity and impair memory. They’re associated with high staff turnover. They make people sick, hostile, unmotivated, and insecure. Open-plan workers are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and elevated stress levels and to get the flu; they argue more with their colleagues; they worry about coworkers eavesdropping on their phone calls and spying on their computer screens. They have fewer personal and confidential conversations with colleagues. They’re often subject to loud and uncontrollable noise, which raises heart rates; releases cortisol, the body’s fight-or-flight “stress” hormone; and makes people socially distant, quick to anger, aggressive, and slow to help others.

I worked for Microsoft 15 years ago.

They loved to say with pride that every engineer gets his or her own private space.

Same thing with when I worked at NASA, when I worked at the Rome Air Force Base, and when I worked at Caltech.

I've always either worked in open offices or the walled pod set up... i've advocated open offices for collaborative reasons... so i think i would vastly prefer the walled pod set up than private offices.... i definitely despise private offices. I've got enough estranging me from people than to have a door do it too.

What do the best computer programmers have in common?

There was a study done. Years of experience, salary and time spent completing the exercise turned out to mean nothing.

Oddly, programmers from the same companies all performed at about the same level. Why?

The most important factor was the comforts afforded to them by their work environment: "... top performers overwhelmingly worked for companies that gave their workers the most privacy, personal space, control over their physical environments, and freedom from interruption."

So basically let programmers design their own office space?

Whoa. I'm with you -- Facebook's plan is not good.

A thousand engineers in a single room?! The horror!!

These sound much saner:

We’ve recently visited two startups, Shopify and Zappos, that are reconsidering and riffing off of the standard startup open floor plan office, and we’ve been inspired by what they’ve come up with to ensure that engineers have the relative solitude that they need to get in the zone, without reverting away from the promise of the open floor plan for serendipity, collaboration and work happiness.

MUCH saner.

I still do like Facebook's planned underground tunnel, though.

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