It struck me the other day that once again, it’s a good thing I work from home. It was 3:30 p.m. and I was still in pjs. I WAS working, but if I worked in an office environment it wouldn’t fly. Especially as businesses are still enamored with the open floor plan concept, there’re quite few things I’d have to worry about besides my work attire. Yes, the “open office” creates the illusion of more personal work space, but what about privacy and distractions?
If you’re still working in a cubicle environment, you may feel it shrinking as companies look to save money. But at least you can pretend you have a private space when you have a little four-foot high wall between you and the co-workers. You probably still have to find a conference room to make a personal call (or at least I hope you do), though.
Think about how creepy it would be if your open office layout allowed everyone to know your business – with other people, like your boss or H.R. Those situations can be anxiety-producing behind a closed office door, imagine if there was no privacy?
I’ve always heard the concept of an open office floor plan is it enhances communication between employees. I doubt it, unless you count some interesting non-verbal stuff flying around. Personally, I’d be distracted all day long. “Ooh, look! Shiny co-workers! I would think communication WOULD increase when everyone is speculating about what’s going on in a meeting when they can plainly see the players. Of course, you’d have to call your office BFFs so no one would see you conspiring/goofing off. “So, do you think Bob is FINALLY getting his a—chewed for being so lazy?”
Full-On View of Bad Behavior
Good or bad, with the glass/open office plan, you’re going to see some behaviors you wish you couldn’t. Kind of like when people stopped in traffic seem to forget we all can see them picking their nose. Those folks are not about to modify their behavior when people can see them at the office. But maybe other more tuned-in people will think first before adjusting their underwear at their desk.
Written by regular Jobacle contributor Nancy LaFever. Find more of her critical thinking on her blog, where she overanalyzes the bizarre grocery shopping lists of the single demographic.