Open-Office Plans Suck

I have to admit that I no longer work in a cubicle.  The days of soft grey walls are over for me.  I’ve moved on to a new type of annoying work life.  The dreaded Open-Office Plan!

The new trend in the tech industry is to get rid of all cubicle walls and offices to jam everyone together into one big room.  This way we can have the maximum number of loud conversations going on at one time.  Instead of having a nice half wall and 5-10 feet between employees, we now have 3 feet max and our desks bump into each other.

Personally, I find it really annoying.

Working in this kind of workspace is like being in a crowded bar.  There’s a constant conversation going on somewhere.  People continuously talk a big louder to hear each other.  Once you get three to four conversations going on it’s basically just people yelling at each other to “collaborate”.

Fans of this work style say that it’s a great way to increase collaboration among teams.  They want to get people working together and talking about all things work.  Well this doesn’t really happen.  Most of the conversations I overhear throughout the day are about people’s kids, their weekend or where they are going to eat later.

The constant noise is a major distraction to most people.  The main way to counteract the distraction is to wear noise cancelling headphones.  This helps a bit, but also kills any actual collaboration that was possible.  So now you have half of the office yammering on about what their kids did this weekend and the other half blasting music to drone it all out.  How is this a good thing?

Open-Offices are a total productivity suck.  You spend more time being annoyed with other people than getting work done.  The noise is a constant distraction.  Even the important work conversations that do happen are random and frequent enough to be a distraction on top of it.  I honestly think that working in these types of environments cuts productivity by 50%.  And then you wonder why people complain about working such long hours…  They have to stay late to make up for all the work they didn’t do during the day.

The real reason we have these plans is to save money.  All corporate real estate is paid for on a dollar per square foot basis.  If you can fit more people into the same square footage, you can save a ton of money.

The only redeeming factor about the open workplace is that they can come along with stand up desks.  Which is a nice perk, but do we really need to stand 3 feet from each other?

Ten great reasons to work in a cubicle

In an effort to be a bit more positive in life, I’m writing this.  Feel the excitement flowing from my vitamin D lacking brain.

  1.  You get paid.  This is why we’re really here.  Sure there are things like job satisfaction and recognition, but if you didn’t get paid for your time, you wouldn’t be sitting in that little carpeted room right now.  Plus it’s steady.  You get a paycheck every two weeks and it’s always the same.  Heck sometimes you even get a teeny tiny raise at year end.
  2. You get to stay inside on cold and rainy days.  Sure it sucks when you look outside to see a beautiful sunny day outside, then turn back to the glow of your LCD monitor, but next time it’s 40 and raining out, take the day off and drive around.  Take a look at all of the construction workers, road crews, mail men, park rangers.  They’re all freezing, wet, and grumpy.  Yes, we miss a ton of great weather, but we miss the crap weather too.
  3. You don’t have to deal with complete idiots.  Yes, this is debatable, but really in most offices, you have to have a pretty decent IQ and level of common sense to get the job.  There are a lot of dumber people out there than your cube farm buddies.  Want proof, go to a fast food place.
  4. That leads to; you don’t work in a fast food place.  Not much is worse than it.  I did it in high school and yes, it sucks.  Sure looking back now, it was nice to have no responsibility and just make sandwiches every day, but 7 bucks an hour doesn’t get you far and fry grease is pretty gross.
  5. It’s nice to have responsibilities.  As much as you might be bored in your job, you’re most likely pretty needed.  If you didn’t show up, what would happen?  Sure the work would eventually get done, but your coworkers depend on you do get your work done.  Plus the higher up you move, the more responsible you are.
  6. And along with responsibilities, it’s pretty cool to have a reason to dress a little fancy.  Sure there are tons of days where I would love to stay in shorts and a t-shirt for work, but it really does make a difference to dress professionally.  Look around, you feel like you fit in with a bunch of “grown ups”.  Kind of weird for someone like me who feels like they are still just a kid.  That and you can get pretty lazy wearing “bumming around” clothes all the time.  When I was laid off, it got pretty easy to just sit around in gym clothes all day.  That leads to less laundry, less showers, and down from there.
  7. You don’t work at night.  Well most of you don’t.  Working at night sucks.  It messes up your social life and sleep rhythms.  Having a day job is pretty kick ass.
  8. Free stuff.  Most office jobs come with a lot of perks that we forget about.  You get reduced insurance rates.  You might get holiday parties.  Maybe pizza parties.  There really are a lot of neat little things that you get for working under the halogen lights.
  9. You probably live in a city.  Living in a city is pretty sweet.  If it weren’t for office jobs, you probably wouldn’t be able to live in a city.  Now, I know not everybody works downtown, but a good portion of you do.  Remember the only reason the cool skyline is there is to make room for those sweet cubes.
  10. You’re not homeless or unemployed.  Both suck.  Sure you could be a glamorous hobo who rides in boxcars.  But most likely, you’d just sit in a shelter and listen to the crazy bag lady scream about her herpes all night.  Be happy you don’t have to do this.

Yes, working in an office can really suck, but there are some pretty awesome things about it.  Not to mention that you get the free time to read exciting blogs about cubicles.

On top of it all, you don’t have to work in an open-office.