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Old 05-04-2019, 06:14 AM
 
1,541 posts, read 399,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GiGi603 View Post
They are not going away. It is cheaper to have an open floor plan than individual offices. It is all about the $$$.
Then they should save even more costs and allow the employees to work from home. They don't need to come into work to sit at a computer, they can sit at a computer at home and work. It would reduce the overhead costs for the company, save travel times for the employee and they would be more productive. But it takes a progressive mind to allow this.

These stupid open floor plans are approved by people who don't have to use them. Because if they did, they would see how horrible they are.
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:49 AM
 
6,838 posts, read 3,708,603 times
Reputation: 18073
These open floor plans are pushed by architects and designers who draw beautiful images of happy people interacting and loving their workspace. It's even happening in laboratories. One of the current trends is "science on display" with open plan labs, giant windows, and glass walls so the tourists can gawk at the scientists in their natural habitat.

Never mind that in reality the scientists then tape paper and cardboard over the windows to cut the glare coming in. Or that they have to put equipment somewhere. Or that there is no private place to think without noise and interruption. Or that real science isn't a bunch of smiling people in lab coats but rumpled shirt and jeans sacked on a couch unshaven because they have been there all night minding a data run.

Interesting read:
https://www.govexec.com/excellence/m...omepage-module

"However, some problems benefit from backing off on the always-on—problems with lots of complexity where you need to brainstorm and innovate. The traditional approach—you work on your own with your office door closed, and then you have the meeting—that is desirable."
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:01 AM
 
Location: 500 miles from home
29,986 posts, read 16,580,107 times
Reputation: 22555
These type of open offices are terrible for people who are even slightly introverted. Too much noise, too many people stopping to chat, etc. It's not like the open office concept is 'new'. I worked in an open office for years when I first started in my industry. Then transitioned into our own offices; then back into a cubicle.

Everything old is new again.

Now I work in a visually stunning space - totally open. No assigned seating; come in and sit wherever you want. Luckily, my favorite team members and I have agreed to show up on the same days. We do have HUGE monitors that block me from seeing the person directly across from me and vice versa. It took about 2 weeks to get used to working in this extremely loud environment. We were all depressed. But then the onsite Starbucks and restaurants perked us up a bit.

The saving grace is that we don't have to go to the office every day. I can work at home 3 days a week if I choose (and I choose). So those are the days I *try* to plan my quiet work. I tend to plan a lot of busy work that doesn't require a ton of concentration for my office days.
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:41 AM
 
407 posts, read 144,071 times
Reputation: 259
I've got an autoimmune condition. The resulting inflammation affects my thinking. I overreact to bull pen offices as it's stress. However, in smaller groups I'm rarely triggered and anti-inflammatory drugs help enough.

When I was sharing a room with 2-3 people I didn't feel as vulnerable and was more productive. In fact it's while working there that I had a sudden remission. I was back to my ambivert/even slightly extroverted self and even new clients coming to our place charged me.

However that was then. My thyroid goiter has grown larger after I've studied or worked at large halls with 50+ people.
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:40 AM
 
10,318 posts, read 9,369,968 times
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My employment in an office setting began back in the 60s, and even though cubicles began in that time frame, the office I worked in utilized an "open office" layout.

There were approximately 40 of us in one large room and we were not distracted by the other employees. We didn't work in a sweat shop environment and did not use our time to socialize, talk loudly or do anything that would interrupt anyone else. And back then we had typewriters and adding machines which could be noisy. When we talked to others it was always work-related and we kept our voices low. Even with speaking on the phone with customers our voice level was kept at a minimum.

We socialized on our breaks, at lunch, or after work.

Am not sure OP if the noise distraction you refer to is work-related or from socializing among employees.
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:18 AM
 
6,838 posts, read 3,708,603 times
Reputation: 18073
Quote:
Originally Posted by katie45 View Post
My employment in an office setting began back in the 60s, and even though cubicles began in that time frame, the office I worked in utilized an "open office" layout.

There were approximately 40 of us in one large room and we were not distracted by the other employees. We didn't work in a sweat shop environment and did not use our time to socialize, talk loudly or do anything that would interrupt anyone else. And back then we had typewriters and adding machines which could be noisy. When we talked to others it was always work-related and we kept our voices low. Even with speaking on the phone with customers our voice level was kept at a minimum.

We socialized on our breaks, at lunch, or after work.

Am not sure OP if the noise distraction you refer to is work-related or from socializing among employees.
I started out that way too and have been in all combinations from open office to cubicles to private office. One huge difference I've seen over they years has been a change in both the type and volume of noise in an open office. Typewriters and machines did produce noise, but it was a type (no pun intended) that would become white noise. A fairly constant volume and pacing that the brain learns to tune out quickly as just part of the background. First big change there was the switch from typewriters to dedicated word processors. The background noise level dropped because you no longer had a constant typewriter sound level, but then it would also be interrupted by these very noisy wheel printers. And while they had covers, the secretaries often left them open to more quickly change paper sheets. So the sound level change to be -----BRANTTTTTTTT-----BRANTTTTTTT-----. Then those too went away and the sounds of typing died out to be replaced by almost silent keyboarding.

But at the same time, another change was happening. As you said, people didn't socialize, talk loudly, or interrupt others. People were heads down and working. Today however there is massive socialization during working hours. Distractions and interruptions are common. People are up and moving about, talking to others about anything but work. It's almost impossible to do heads down work for more than 10 minutes without some form of interruption. There are even whole threads here on CD about the interruptions in the modern office. And rather than management discouraging the constant socialization, they encourage it. It's even a consideration in hiring, to the point that social fit within the workgroup is more important than ability to do the job. Again, threads here on CD about that too.

Basically all that to say there are a lot more distractions in the office today than when folks like you and I started.
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:25 AM
 
4,068 posts, read 2,933,728 times
Reputation: 7026
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlygal View Post
1. Ear plugs. They wipe out 90% of sound but you can still hear a phone ring. The little foam ones by Hearos are great. Get at least NRR 32.
2. Move your monitors to block out as much visual stimuli as possible.
3. Find out which conference rooms are used the least and book them for a couple of hours a few times a week. It's an easy way to work alone. Take your laptop, work, and enjoy that little bit of peace and quiet.
I hear the ear plug solution a lot. Doesn't that go squarely against the whole purpose of an open office environment?

So the higher ups decide to move to an open office environment to force collaboration or whatever onto employees. They walk into this open floor and see that 90% of the people are wearing headphones/earplugs, I would think any reasonable person would notice and think "Wow, this forced collaboration really didn't work."

I've said it before and I'll say it again, higher ups are in round table meetings all day and think the rest of the worker bees below them do the same. They have no idea that many jobs require concentration, focus and quiet. Just shows the disconnect these people have with reality.
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:32 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,875 posts, read 42,085,992 times
Reputation: 43276
Quote:
Originally Posted by katie45 View Post
My employment in an office setting began back in the 60s, and even though cubicles began in that time frame, the office I worked in utilized an "open office" layout.

There were approximately 40 of us in one large room and we were not distracted by the other employees. We didn't work in a sweat shop environment and did not use our time to socialize, talk loudly or do anything that would interrupt anyone else. And back then we had typewriters and adding machines which could be noisy. When we talked to others it was always work-related and we kept our voices low. Even with speaking on the phone with customers our voice level was kept at a minimum.

We socialized on our breaks, at lunch, or after work.

Am not sure OP if the noise distraction you refer to is work-related or from socializing among employees.
I was in the 70s and I don't know either what's meant by "socializing". Then again, there are people who consider saying good morning when you come in as "socializing".
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:20 AM
 
407 posts, read 144,071 times
Reputation: 259
The ladies next to me discussed periods last week. At their desks. During working hours. That's not at all work-related.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:29 AM
 
10,318 posts, read 9,369,968 times
Reputation: 15907
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
I started out that way too and have been in all combinations from open office to cubicles to private office. One huge difference I've seen over they years has been a change in both the type and volume of noise in an open office. Typewriters and machines did produce noise, but it was a type (no pun intended) that would become white noise. A fairly constant volume and pacing that the brain learns to tune out quickly as just part of the background. First big change there was the switch from typewriters to dedicated word processors. The background noise level dropped because you no longer had a constant typewriter sound level, but then it would also be interrupted by these very noisy wheel printers. And while they had covers, the secretaries often left them open to more quickly change paper sheets. So the sound level change to be -----BRANTTTTTTTT-----BRANTTTTTTT-----. Then those too went away and the sounds of typing died out to be replaced by almost silent keyboarding.

But at the same time, another change was happening. As you said, people didn't socialize, talk loudly, or interrupt others. People were heads down and working. Today however there is massive socialization during working hours. Distractions and interruptions are common. People are up and moving about, talking to others about anything but work. It's almost impossible to do heads down work for more than 10 minutes without some form of interruption. There are even whole threads here on CD about the interruptions in the modern office. And rather than management discouraging the constant socialization, they encourage it. It's even a consideration in hiring, to the point that social fit within the workgroup is more important than ability to do the job. Again, threads here on CD about that too.

Basically all that to say there are a lot more distractions in the office today than when folks like you and I started.
And without the constant socializing it was amazing the amount of work we accomplished, plus the exceptional quality.

Of course, back 'then' it was all we knew, we went to work to earn a paycheck, it was not an entitlement.

Since that was the environment I started out in, by the time I was retirement age the ongoing office distractions were annoying. And I suppose my younger coworkers may have thought I went overboard getting my work done, and/or may have perceived me as being unfriendly since I wasn't chatty. But that was the way I was 'weaned' in the workforce and that was the way I worked going forward.

Saying good morning was not considered socializing. But, non work-related talk throughout the day to discuss plans with friends/family, last night's date, etc., are unnecessary and not beneficial. Or, personal phone calls - the only way we were allowed to make personal phone calls was with special permission, and even then they had to very short conversations and nothing that would distract others.

And of course we didn't have computers so surfing the net and/or ordering items did not exist. Same with cell phones and texting.
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