Leader Volume 10, Number 1
Office Space—Not For Me!
Six months ago we
moved from an old office building to a fancy new one.
It’s great, with exciting color schemes, lots of light,
and all kinds of interesting angles built into the architecture. It also has that “new” smell.
No complaints about any of this.
difference between this building and the old one is that, instead
of closed offices, we are now in open cubicles.
This was intended to increase the quality of communication.
Communication quantity has certainly increased; however,
work quality has decreased.
You see, many of
my colleagues enjoy chatting—about anything.
And there’s a constant background of yakking about
children, parties, shopping, company rumors, boy/girlfriends, etc.
Much of the work most of us do involves concentrating over
columns of numbers, and the background of talking definitely
interferes with my work, and the work of at least several other
complained about the distractions, but our gripes go against the
new effort to stimulate communication.
Many of the staff really enjoy this open environment.
I’ve noticed that there’s a positive correlation
between the amount of chatting someone does and the level of
acceptance of our open spaces. Our most effective workers, by contrast, do not spend a high
percent of their day in mindless chatter and are annoyed by the
I believe that
the leaders of the company committed to this cubicle arrangement
and refuse to admit it was a mistake. I don’t know of a single
person in my department who was asked for advice on the new office
love to know how the decision for open cubicles was made.
By the way, as far as I know, there was never a
communication problem in the department. Maybe the communication problem is between top brass and the