"Open Floorplans" at Work

Can management just cut the baloney on this one? Every manager (with an office): “This open floorplan has really increased communication and collaboration amongst team members.” His employees: “Since the open floorplan was adopted, I have contemplated self-electing into leaving this plane of existence almost daily.”

When can I stop hearing about the supposed benefits of this, the worst office development since bathroom stall doors that don’t go all the way down to the ground? I have never, ever heard an employee that will privately tell you that they love it and wouldn’t go back to having an office.

Get used to it. ‘Creative office’ is the wave of the future. Every office developer is scrambling to build it. It’s designed to keep people onsite working longer. It’s going to backfire when people realize having a ping pong table in the office exchange for their life outside of work isn’t worth it. I’ve heard anecdotes that the revolt is on among employees of Google and other tech companies that pioneered this shit.

I’ve worked both and I think I prefer open. I think it’s easier to “rally your troops”, drive staff forward. If the group doesn’t have a leader, it can be disfunctional.

We sit on an open “trading floor” layout. I like it, I like the extra conversation. Offices get lonely, you miss the random goings on and I hate having to stop my work and wander the floor halls like lumberg to have a conversation.

Perhaps it depends. I wonder if there’s any correlation between extroverts loving it and introverts despising it?

Also, I think it matters if people that surround you are doing exactly the same work you’re doing. I should have qualified my initial statement of disgust with the notion that when office designers do it for the sake of doing it, and you’re surrounded by people that you barely interact with, it gets annoying fast. Can anyone analytical really concentrate with Bob in Sales standing up, loudly talking on his headset and strutting around like some gangly peacock, acting like the whole f’ing floor is his personal office and that his conversation is the most important one taking place in the whole company?

^ I’m not a big fan of the open floor plan even though I’ve had it at all my employers. Buying a pair of Bose noise canceling headsets has been one of the best things for my productivity. Thankfully at my current employer, we have a few offices that are always unassigned and set up with docking stations, dual monitors, etc. that are open for anybody who wants a few hours or a day away from the floor. I have never had that option before.

I have an office and I pity all you cube dwellers. I couldn’t work in that environment, I literally just wouldn’t. It’s degrading almost. I’m a professional and that deserves an office. I’ll leave the cubes for the transactional non-thinking jobs. I was in a cube for the first 5 years of my career and it was God awful. How do you get any thinking done? How can you slack off for a bit and rest the mind? I understand the merits for a trading floor due to the need for instant communication. Outside of that environment its just the big bad corporation trying to drain you of your dignity so they can extract maximum productivity (which likely isn’t the result).

I hated cubes, but love the trading floor. I really like my coworkers and we have CNBC going so it’s nice to do my work and feel like I can talk. I do well with blocking out background noise. It also helps that I’m in the corner so I have just enough privacy. If I come in hung over I can usually just hide behind my monitors and keep my headphones on. We also have cubes we can use if we want some quiet but I only use it to keep my keurig and jacket.

Two jobs ago I was at Wells Fargo and we had a group of mid 20’s people sitting in a block in a cubical field. We’d always knock out the fiber glass squares in the walls so we could talk. It’s all preference I guess. I can see how the office would be cool from a status perspective I guess.

I think it depends on the kind of work you do and how much “thinking vs doing” is involved, and how much interaction you need with others, either customers or coworkers

I have worked in both. And I much prefer an office. But I meet with a lot of clients and have to do quite a. I do a lot more “thinking-type work” now than I did before.

I’m most productive when I’m inside my own head, headphones on, no noise, no interruptions, flying through work

Probably a matter of preference. I do a lot more thinking than doing as a buy side analyst and don’t find the open floor plan to be an issue. But I’ve always been good at tuning out background noise. I did all my cfa studying at Starbucks.

I am most productive when i have 3 tabs open. 1) AF Water Cooler 2) AF Water cooler 3) AF Water cooler.

I enjoyed offices when I had them, and really resisted open floor plans, but I have warmed up to them over time, provided there are not too many distractions happening. I don’t love them, but don’t smart at them like I used to.

I’ve never worked in the actual trading desk format that’s popular now, but I’ve worked on floors where the “cube walls” were so low that you were basically on top of people anyway. So that was similar to this new open floor plan that’s all the rage I suppose.

I think it’s all about the people you work with, and especially for. My manager, who had his own cube near us and no office, was a guy who would just grill you if you left work on time or would start asking questions if you took a longer than normal lunch or something. Just no need for that type of BS, we’re all adults here. Everyone got their work done but because dude came in hours later than us he’d stay later. So every damn day I’d get up to put my coat on and I could just feel his eyes on me like a hawk. It was a horrible back office job too, it’s not like there were really any projects. If deliverables are out and deadlines are met, and I don’t get paid overtime… see ya buddy.

I’m sure if I worked for better people (like I do now, ironically enough in a much more private and isolated setting) I’d feel differently about it.

We’re moving into a brand new open floor plan kind of place. I’m going from a cubicle with 6 foot high walls, 2 desks, and about 120 square feet(so basically an office) to a cubicle with walls that extend about 6 inches above my desk and that my fat ass will barely be able to squeez into. They keep telling us how great the collaboration will be. I don’t like people. It’s going to be awful. At least the managers and VP’s are getting shoved into a shitty phone booth sized cubicle too. Something like 15 or 16 floors, each with an identical layout and no offices to be found. We have lactation suites and breakaway rooms and huddle rooms and a bunch of conference rooms not big enough to fit any of our teams, we have a nap room and a rooftop garden, but no offices. What little enthusiasm I have for my job is already being sucked out, and we don’t move until April.

I’ve had both thinking and talking roles and with both I prefer open plan, I’ve never had an office but if I did I would probably just faff about all the time or go insane with boredom.

Totally agree that the layout needs to be done well so it’s only your team and similar teams in the vicinity. when i was in a client role we were sitting near a bunch of random teams, the kind of people that work for an investment company but don’t know what a bond is and don’t appear to have to say more then 3 words all day to perform their role. They used to sit and glare while we spoke on the phone, and none of us were typical peacocks standing up and strutting around talking bollocks, although 1 guy used to stand up every so often, put his phone on mute and say “don’t mind me, just generating some revenue over here”

I’ve heard of floorplans taking months and 100s of discussions to be agreed upon. another thing for the list of ridiculous corporate nonsense we have to put up with.

my pet hate is everyone sitting with headphones in. I don’t know if i’m just old fashioned or if starting my career in a client facing role has stayed with me but it irritates me to have to tap someone on the shoulder to talk to them.

say what?

A few years ago a client firm hired a new CFO and we scheduled a meeting with him to get acquainted. This company had just switched to an open floor plan, and he was not happy at all. Spent the first 15 mins discussing how he had never seen such a thing and basically verged on potentially not accepting the position had he known.

We have plenty of space so it’s not that bad, pretty spread out actually. I also like my coworkers and job so that would be a big issue if it was changed. Also, they’re pretty relaxed about when I come and go so I don’t feel like I’m being spied on.

I hate our open floor plan. I hate, hate, hate it and I think I have already gone into detail on some other thread. Management had the brilliant idea that portfolio managers should sit in between RMs to give advice when necessary. Genius. Now I am sitting in a glorified call center. I hate it. It’s not because I hate people per se like Twice the man but because I hate some people. If I could I would fire 20-30% instantly.

I hate the 350 pound guy who is constantly walking around the entire floor when on the phone/headset, yelling and spitting because he is always eating at the same time. Currently behind me going through a bag of chips like a pig. I hate the super emotional assistant who talks like a little kid. Woman, you are in your forties and we are not your kindergarten group, why do you talk like this?! I hate the guy who wants everybody to know just how busy he is, you know, the guy who does his extra loud sigh whenever his phone rings or when he has to go to the printer. Yes. We get it. You are indispensable. And why does that loser take all calls exclusively on speaker? You are loud enough, I don’t need to hear your loud clients too.

I guess it’s a cultural thing. It’s no coincidence that these people are either Latin or Israeli. For now I didn’t say anything because nobody else does and I am too junior and too much of a conflict avoider. Or should I? I will probably explode one day and lose my shit like a shit collector with amnesia. Any day now…