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  • Open office plans

    Bottom line first: I hate open office plans. No, hate isn't strong enough. Viscerally despise is closer to my feelings.

    We just got a new, higher up vice president nitwit whose first Peter Principle-like priority is to move everyone into an open office layout. Good-bye chest-high cubicles. Hello no personal space, jockying for space at big tables, lots of noise, increased anxiety and general discontent with it all. I'm one of the lucky ones since I get to keep a closed office given that I need to conduct private meetings, like performance reviews and that kind of nonsense. My staff, though, absolutely hates it. Arguments are breaking out. Productivity is going down. My best, most creative staff members are threatening to look for other jobs.

    The fool who originally came up with these kinds of office layouts needs to be taken out back and have the crap kicked out of his head (There's certainly no brain in there to dislodge). Our new VP's reasoning basically boils down to lots of other places are doing it, so we should to. Agggghhh!

  • #2
    Can your staff have a meeting and divvy up the open space among themselves, or are you jockeying with other departments?
    Take those tables and build some creative walls?

    The first thing I ask on seeing an open floor plan is, where do people put their stuff? Because no designer I know works on a laptop only. They have stuff all around them. Heck, I couldn't do my job without my media swatch decks and sample chains and Pantone chip books...
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 12-23-2016, 07:42 PM.

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    • #3
      I don't know. I just got informed about it today, and those are the very questions we're all asking. Somebody mentioned lockers. Somebody else mention a bank of assigned file cabinets. Somebody else mentioned a few shared semi-private spaces. It sounds like heading back to high school and keeping your stuff in a locker while looking for a place to study in the library.

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      • #4
        Maybe a memo to management that your help came to your place and accepted your job offer just because they weren't ''like everyplace else'' and that it's taken a long time to build a team that makes the company successful and to lose them would jeopardize production?
        Of course it doesn't help that there are more designers then cats in the world...just not all of them talented. But some management doesn't see it that way. It's too bad there is so very little managerial loyalty to employees these days. I feel really lucky to work where I do. Most days.....

        I have a friend who works in an office that management one day decided to change the floor plan. They still had cubbies, but all of them had basically 2 desk drawers and an overhead bin, no space for even a D-sized drawing and you were not allowed to have more than the computer and keyboard on the desk when you left at night. Actually they would have preferred that at all times and made life really miserable about it, even grumbling that coffee cups were too casual and should be left in the break room (they had to relent on that.) All in the interests of ''looking professional'' to visiting clients.

        Just because Boogle does it, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

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        • #5
          I'm with you. I hate "open office plans". Sure, they may save a few bucks by having less walls, less cubicles walls, etc. but I need things to be "quiet" and to be undistracted. (I actually tend to listen to music while I work, but quiet as in, I don't want to hear everyone else's crap as I work.)

          I went from "full cube walls", to half cube walls in my current job and I hate it. The job itself is decent, so I'm handling it and coping with it, but it's extremely annoying because I sit right in front of a hall that lead to the restrooms. So people are constantly walking past my cube. And occasionally chatting on their cell phones as they do it.

          I just don't understand the open office phenomenon. It seems to curb productivity and cause stress like you said. It's just a horrible idea.
          __________________________________________________
          I like to beat up pacifists, because they don't fight back ...

          N.A.N.K.A. "We Kick Because We Care."

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          • #6
            "Leaders" with PDS (Paranoid Dickhead Syndrome) know that they themselves like to take advantage of "good cover," so they act on their belief that everyone is out to hide away and slack-off on company time. The open floor plan is born only of mistrust. There is no legitimate case to make for it.
            I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

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            • kemingMatters
              kemingMatters commented
              Editing a comment
              They're not really leaders then are they? I don't think open floor plans are born of mistrust, it actually makes it difficult for ''PDS'' as there's ''good cover'' for those with ''PDS'' in an open office, it gets noticed and gets dealt with or good people leave, plain and simple.
              Last edited by kemingMatters; 12-30-2016, 09:34 AM.

          • #7
            Originally posted by B View Post
            I'm one of the lucky ones since I get to keep a closed office
            It's only a matter of time before that disappears too. Where I have been consulting for the past few months, even the Big-Um Chief sits with the rest of the staff in the open plan space. No closed offices whatsoever. Not even for the nose-bleed section.

            Folks get a desk, and 2 drawers for pens and the like. There are also a couple of coat closets in the lobby.
            Last edited by PanToshi; 12-30-2016, 08:45 AM. Reason: speelink
            Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.

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            • #8
              It boils down to the same reasons why I had only one day off for Christmas and New Years. There is no trust or respect for the American worker. I can improve someone's productivity by placing a camera on them and telling them they're being watched but I don't because I respect that person. Employers just don't respect us anymore, they just walk all over us and dictate how it's going to be. That's all it really boils down to.

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              • #9
                I only had one day off too. The Monday after Saturday and Sunday. If I wanted more, I'd have put in for vacation time. Last January. Because holiday vacay time goes to the quick (and those that can plan that far ahead.)
                Luckily I'm not on any of the show crews we have out on New Years doing celebration events (though the OT and per diem is pretty darn good!). Ours is a service industry. Some get paid to work so others can party. As long as I'm in this industry and I get paid for showing up, I'm good with that.


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                • #10
                  I got 4 days off for Christmas, and another 4 days off for New Years. If I wanted to, I could have taken 2 of my own vacation days, and been out from 12/23 - 1/3.

                  It really depends on the company and its culture.
                  Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.

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                  • KitchWitch
                    KitchWitch commented
                    Editing a comment
                    On 12/23, my group had a breakfast ''meeting'' (boss paid for it) then got the rest of the day off to shop, with pay. My employer encourages a good work/life balance. I took off 12/26-1/2. I agree that it depends on the company.

                • #11
                  I was with all of your dissent for an open office, until I started working in one. We have a few enclosed meeting rooms for those private conversations; the CEO is the only one with an office so the senior employees work alongside the juniors. I think it sorts out the leaders from the bosses, so it might start off a bit toxic and depending on what management is like, will either improve drastically with the right changes, or remain toxic and you'll see an exodus of talented people.

                  As for where do I put my stuff: we hang our coats together, I have a designated spot in a pod of desks where my external monitors, keyboard, and other periphery live, I also have a lockable cabinet on casters to put whatever I want in which lives at my spot too. I also have the freedom to work from home quite a bit so if I need to work on something with little distraction it's not an issue.

                  As for being noisy, most people are cognizant of the office being an open space and talk quietly or use a meeting room and are respectful to everyone else that is working. A decent set of headphones isn't a must be can be useful if you really need to focus.

                  I'm certain their will be hiccups and issues with a transition like this as it is a big change and requires everybody to adapt to a more trusting and less policing office ecosystem. We continually have great ideas and discussion as a result of not isolating employees in cubes.
                  Design is not decoration.

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                  • #12
                    Got one day off after Christmas and one day off after New Years.

                    But we get the Friday before Easter off ever year so that's something...

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                    • #13
                      I am always so glad for this week, especially when the holidays fall on the weekends. No one on the roads and my hour+ commute becomes 40 minutes.

                      Everyone should get to work in retail for a year, or maybe just between 11/20 and 1/10, just so they can understand the commercialism, the consumerism, the gotta-have-it-nowism and all that other happy garbage that goes into making money go round during the holidays. Everyone might treat the help better after that.

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                      • #14
                        Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
                        Everyone should get to work in retail for a year, or maybe just between 11/20 and 1/10, just so they can understand the commercialism, the consumerism, the gotta-have-it-nowism and all that other happy garbage that goes into making money go round during the holidays. Everyone might treat the help better after that.
                        Uggggh.

                        Worked retail for a number of years. A bad one was working in a big art supply store. We had three major crushes during the year: Beginning of college semesters, and then the holiday season.

                        The beginning of the college semester, especially the Fall one, was interesting. I was shocked at how many students would do this shopping with their parents. Most of the shopping lists were more or less the same, regardless of school or instructor, so we clerks working the floor knew what everything was, even if there was a mistake written by the instructor.
                        "Vine charcoal" for some reason was something a lot of jerky parents regarded with skepticism. I also had a number of small arguments with parents when I took them to the 18X24" newsprint pads ("the note says 24X18!!" they would say) .
                        I was frequently accused of trying to sell the more expensive product.

                        I also worked for a fine art-retail (mostly very overpriced serigraphs and giclée prints of dubious print runs)
                        in a high end mall. The Holiday season was a nightmare. not so much the customers I dealt with, but the whole enormity of the crowd and the hassles of getting in and out of the place.
                        I think the "joy" of the holiday season is more myth than reality.
                        Keep Saturn in Saturnalia.

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                        • #15
                          You think retail is bad...try working at a major insurance company in the claims department.

                          Anytime a hail storm hits, tornado occurs, or God forbid a hurricane, you'll be filling claims till the cows come home.

                          Actually I take back what I said about the claims department. If a hurricane hits it doesn't matter what department you're in. HR, training, janitor; they'll throw anyone on the phones if the volume is high.

                          You'll also realize how many mud slides happen in the U.S.

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