Apple Staffers Reportedly Rebelling against Open Office Plan at New $5 Billion HQ

Monkey God

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Open office floor plans are bullshit and just about bodies/sq ft, PERIOD. Collaboration and all that other non-sense is just smoke and mirrors. I've worked in open office, pods (4 people), and single serving cubes. Single serving cubes are best for people who actually have to work and need quiet and pods are good for teams that work often together on the same task. Open office is just a noise/distraction fest.

But the high-level executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, are exempt from this collaborative environment and have offices on the fourth floor of the new building.

Shocking. /sarcasm
 

J3RK

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I'd even willingly work in an open floor plan office, if it was a higher end, stylish one where there's plenty of room between people, and everyone has their own full desk area. I interviewed at a really cool "hip for the early 2000s" :D embedded systems and device design company several years ago. It was an open plan, but desks seemed to be around 10' apart on average, and were actually nice desks, with nice equipment.

...and a half-pipe, and a climbing wall... :D

It was actually a really cool place. It didn't strike me as the sort of place that would be around for a terribly long time though despite the "cool" factor of the offices and the products that they showed me.
 

collegeboy69us

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As the general IT/nerdy/introverted type -- fuck open office plans. I work best alone, give me a problem or a task, and leave me the fuck alone while I come up with a solution. I don't want or need to interact with 20 various retards to produce results. If it's a design team thing you need, create the group space you need but don't make it like some high school lunch cafeteria group crap.

I love my current work setup -- nights, and I'm the only one in the entire department. I get my shit done in probably 20% of the allotted time and just chill the rest. It's amazing how much and how fast you can get stuff done when you work smarter not harder and don't have random people bothering you every 10 minutes.
 

ruffbytes

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Just consider that every time you interrupt someone - it takes time for them to recover and refocus on their work. As a manager I take this into account and use email when issues dont require an immediate answer. Even IM is better since it can be "ignored" until the person is ready for an interrupt.

I am a programmer and it does take a long time to remember what the hell you were doing, especially on complex legacy code. Sometimes I just zone out for a few minutes because I know on certain days I will be interrupted again in about five minutes. It takes less brain energy to do the one context switch instead of trying to work on whatever I was working on and then immediately another.

It would be more efficient for me for us to work another way, but I think they like having me immediately available to answer questions.

I do not work in a place where software is thought of as the main product, but more of a helper. I think that this is why they do not realize this...

Like just now... came to post a forum... manager is IMing me... back to work ;)
 

nanotube

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I use to work for American Express travel in the MIS department way back in the 1980's. We had an open office environment with large desks and your closest colleague was at least 15 feet away. I enjoyed the layout and didn't have any problems concentrating. The other day I saw a picture inside of the same facility I worked at and American Express crammed 10 times the amount of people inside tiny cubicles. I would get claustrophobic if I had to work inside such a small space and all the noise from the extra workers would drive me nuts. Of course it would be even worse if I had to work right next to someone sitting on a bench with no walls.
 

burton14e7

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Within the same team, sure. But these floor plans are mixing literally everyone together. And frankly, I work with some people on a great level that have extremely annoying behavioral quirks that would drive me batshit insane if I had to listen and/or watch it all day.

The dude on the other side of my cubicle clips his nails and the little click sound drives me bat shiz crazy.
 

mcravenufo

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I am a programmer and it does take a long time to remember what the hell you were doing, especially on complex legacy code. Sometimes I just zone out for a few minutes because I know on certain days I will be interrupted again in about five minutes. It takes less brain energy to do the one context switch instead of trying to work on whatever I was working on and then immediately another.

It would be more efficient for me for us to work another way, but I think they like having me immediately available to answer questions.

I do not work in a place where software is thought of as the main product, but more of a helper. I think that this is why they do not realize this...

Like just now... came to post a forum... manager is IMing me... back to work ;)

Ditto. This is exactly something I could have written.
 

Damar

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But.... an open office makes it more interesting once they go all "Belko Experiment" in the place!

Nowhere to hide!!! :p
 

modi123

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It was actually a really cool place. It didn't strike me as the sort of place that would be around for a terribly long time
Well.. are they still around?!

clips his nails and the little click sound drives me bat shiz crazy.
Had someone that was a sunflower seed addict. It's all I could hear and I about threw him down the stair well.
 

mcravenufo

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The dude on the other side of my cubicle clips his nails and the little click sound drives me bat shiz crazy.

A contract worker (who is now gone) sat about 20 feet away from me and about every 10-15 minutes he would spin his fidget spinner on the desk. "Shhhhhrrrrreeeeeee" all day long.
 

J3RK

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Well.. are they still around?!

I actually took a job somewhere else (better pay, infinitely more boring...) I'm trying to remember what the place was called, so I can look it up. (it was almost ten years ago...)
 

Burticus

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TLDR - open workspaces like this suck balls. The ONLY time it should be acceptable is by same team basis. When you mix a bunch of random people together, bad shit happens.

First we had offices. Then came cubicles. Then came "shorty" cubicles so your manager/supervisor could see what everyone was doing. That still wasn't good enough, because there were still "walls" involved, even though only 4 feet high. Now it's all open concept, let's shove everyone into one room and everyone try to talk on the phone at once. Add in a few dashes of people who sneeze at 100% volume like they are going to die... and the others that have to scream into their phone when talking... or the ones that just fart their brains out all day long in a public area we all work in. Also the guys who aren't working but are watching youtube and laughing out loud like they are at home alone. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE


I deal with this on a daily basis and sometimes I just want to bring a bat to work and beat people upside the head. Go have your loud ass conversation somewhere else, co-workers, I'm trying to work on conference calls all day here.
 

J3RK

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TLDR - open workspaces like this suck balls. The ONLY time it should be acceptable is by same team basis. When you mix a bunch of random people together, bad shit happens.

First we had offices. Then came cubicles. Then came "shorty" cubicles so your manager/supervisor could see what everyone was doing. That still wasn't good enough, because there were still "walls" involved, even though only 4 feet high. Now it's all open concept, let's shove everyone into one room and everyone try to talk on the phone at once. Add in a few dashes of people who sneeze at 100% volume like they are going to die... and the others that have to scream into their phone when talking... or the ones that just fart their brains out all day long in a public area we all work in. Also the guys who aren't working but are watching youtube and laughing out loud like they are at home alone. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE


I deal with this on a daily basis and sometimes I just want to bring a bat to work and beat people upside the head. Go have your loud ass conversation somewhere else, co-workers, I'm trying to work on conference calls all day here.

I agree in a case like that 100%. I think it really comes down to what the company/department/person is doing. IMO an employee should have a quiet, maybe even somewhat isolated place to work in many if not most cases. I think that's most productive. I mean, a manager can tell if their numbers are down, or assigned work isn't getting finished by... being a manager. (unless they suck, and then they shouldn't be a manager)

I think where a space like this could work (and in no way does this mean that I personally would enjoy it :D ) is in a "hip" creative, idea sharing type of company. Maybe a marketing consultation firm or something where everyone has to get all excited about the shit they're fabricating. Big white-boards, projectors, excited looking freaks of sizzle-reel-making marketeers :D That sort of thing.

For types of work that aren't like that though, that sort of space definitely does not work, and actually hinders employees.
 

Chapeau

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Totally limited by organisation size - small firms it's great. It's the ONLY way really..

But any medium sized business upwards and it's a nightmare. It kinda says something when you have to book private meeting rooms and surprise... they're always booked out... lol
 

Shotglass01

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The dude on the other side of my cubicle clips his nails and the little click sound drives me bat shiz crazy.

I can't fathom how people can do this at work. So if someone is reading this and you do this at work in places where people know you're doing it, stop it. It's gross. Kind of like 'open bathroom plans.' Just no!
 
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Apple Park may have been meticulously designed, but there seems to have been a tremendous oversight: none of the architects or managers realized that the company’s employees hate open office arrangements. Engineers are being asked to work at long tables with co-workers instead of cubicles or separate areas, which is a terrible idea for the easily distracted. The vice president of Hardware Technologies, Johny Srouji, said “f--- you” when he was shown the plans.

"I heard that when floor plans were announced, that there was some meeting with [Apple Vice President] Johny Srouji's team,” said Gruber. “He's in charge of Apple's silicon, the A10, the A11, all of their custom silicon. Obviously a very successful group at Apple, and a large and growing one with a lot on their shoulders.” Gruber continued, “When he [Srouji] was shown the floor plans, he was more or less just 'F--- that, f--- you, f--- this, this is bulls---.' And they built his team their own building, off to the side on the campus … My understanding is that that building was built because Srouji was like, 'F--— this, my team isn't working like this.’”
Much respect for that guy. Open office plans are dumb as hell.
 

Burticus

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The dude on the other side of my cubicle clips his nails and the little click sound drives me bat shiz crazy.

 

AK0tA

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I am so glad I work for myself. I set my own hours and if I don't want anyone around i tell them to leave. 1/4 of my workspace is dirt floor the rest is hardwood and I heat year round with a wood burning stove or coal. I am a cabinet maker/blacksmith retired from project management in D.C area and am sorry that I ever got near Washington and the rat race. I took half the money for peace of mind and make out much much better.
 

viper_0307

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Management tries to sell it as improving collaboration; it is a cost cutting as 20% may usually work from home, depending on the day of the week. We have "neighborhoods", desks are not assigned, and we store our stuff in lockers. Each desk is setup with two x 24" monitors, wireless mouse and keyboard, and a WYSE terminal; I bring my own keyboard. It is annoying when everyone is on a conference call, get the stereo and surround sound effect. Fortunately, I still have the option to sit in a lab alone.

My thoughts are exact, f--- this, f--- that, etc...
 

sadsteve

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Every study I've read about 'open office' in the last 5 or so years has found that it hurts productivity and morale. The only thing it does is save some money on the facility. Of course, my company is moving to an new 'open office' facility! Thankfully, I'm retiring in a little over a year so I won't have to put up with it for long. And, I still have my shooting muffs to block the noise.
 

DrezKill

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As the general IT/nerdy/introverted type -- fuck open office plans. I work best alone, give me a problem or a task, and leave me the fuck alone while I come up with a solution. I don't want or need to interact with 20 various retards to produce results. If it's a design team thing you need, create the group space you need but don't make it like some high school lunch cafeteria group crap.

I love my current work setup -- nights, and I'm the only one in the entire department. I get my shit done in probably 20% of the allotted time and just chill the rest. It's amazing how much and how fast you can get stuff done when you work smarter not harder and don't have random people bothering you every 10 minutes.

This. So much this. Dude, you hit the nail on the fucking head.
 

OldGator

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This. So much this. Dude, you hit the nail on the fucking head.

Me too. I've always been able to do the work of half a dozen people when left alone. Lucky in most of my career I have had jobs that allowed me to work on my own.

There was one notable exception: one time I worked for this doorknob who owned a computer shop and whenever he interrupted me I was lucky to get 1-2 billable hours of service done. When left alone all day I could crank out almost 15 in a 7 hour period. He never understood that when he bothered me it was costing him almost $1,000 per day.
 

steakman1971

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I've worked in cubicles and currently have a real office with a door. The office is awesome - when I need to focus, I shut my door and distractions are gone.
Cubicles are noisy, but at least you aren't staring at someone all day long. So, when Bob is fighting with his wife again, how could I make faces in his direction without him seeing me? My only saving grace was buying noise canceling headphones. I got so sick of hearing my neighbors issues - and for gods sake, Tony needed GasX.
If I had to work in an open environment, I'd be hating it. It might work if you are doing something collaborative - but I think only in small doses. That said, we do have people at my work in pretty open environments. About half seem ok with it (as a guess - no survey done). One guy with an office like mine doesn't like working in his office. Not sure why - I love solitary confinement!
 

lostin3d

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That's one of the reasons I'd really never want to work in the IT mines out west....they treat their low level people like cattle. I might not be much but I've got 200 sq. ft to myself and like 6 desks. I'll take real estate over income most days :)
Same for me!
 

MrTryfe

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The west coast in general seems to be obsessed with this garbage office format. Both of my contracts out west were in open office environments, and they were easily the least inefficient places I've worked at. You had "professionals" backbiting about other co-workers when they weren't there, and the whole office could hear it.

I don't need to hear all that garbage when systems are shitting the bed left and right, and the boss himself is letting it be known to damn near half the world.

I don't have an issue with co-workers popping in and out of my cubicle to ask questions or to socialize for a few minutes. That's fine. I don't need the extracurricular garbage, or the need to hear about how Bob in accounting got caught with a crack whore.

I thought perhaps it would stop folks from twiddling thumbs and browsing Reddit all day, at the very least, but that isn't the case at all.
 

Nytegard

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I think this open space idea is the management's idea that privacy = people slacking off. Obviously the solution is to reduce privacy to keep people honest.
I'm really not sure who in these open spaces besides managers enjoy this setup. It seems as if most computer jobs that require concentration suffer from the many distractions that these setups.
I also feel personally that these set ups are meant to dehumanize people and make it seem as if they're in a sea of replaceable cogs.

Unfortunately, this is the reality of the butt-in-seat culture that exists. They'd rather have the appearance of productivity over actual productivity. It's why many companies are so fearful of allowing telecommuting. "If you can work from home, you're not going to put in honest hours!" Actually, I'm much more productive from a wfh environment where I can set my own hours along with my own distractions. I tend to code while watching baseball. This way, what makes me comfortable and productive doesn't interfere with you, and your noises don't distract me. And shaving off the commute I use to have? That's a huge moral booster.

But management loves the culture of fear. Will I be fired? Am I replaceable? Why can't I just take a 15 minute break to allow my brain to recharge?
 

geekebox

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Nobody wanted to work in a open space setting with Steve Jobs in his early days..(claimed his sweat didn't stink) .Imagine bench sitting next to that guy. lol :dead:
 

Miikun

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Management tries to sell it as improving collaboration; it is a cost cutting as 20% may usually work from home, depending on the day of the week. We have "neighborhoods", desks are not assigned, and we store our stuff in lockers. Each desk is setup with two x 24" monitors, wireless mouse and keyboard, and a WYSE terminal; I bring my own keyboard. It is annoying when everyone is on a conference call, get the stereo and surround sound effect. Fortunately, I still have the option to sit in a lab alone.

My thoughts are exact, f--- this, f--- that, etc...
Just convince all your coworkers to buy blue mechanical keyboards in an act of defiance.
 

MrTryfe

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Unfortunately, this is the reality of the butt-in-seat culture that exists. They'd rather have the appearance of productivity over actual productivity. It's why many companies are so fearful of allowing telecommuting. "If you can work from home, you're not going to put in honest hours!" Actually, I'm much more productive from a wfh environment where I can set my own hours along with my own distractions. I tend to code while watching baseball. This way, what makes me comfortable and productive doesn't interfere with you, and your noises don't distract me. And shaving off the commute I use to have? That's a huge moral booster.

But management loves the culture of fear. Will I be fired? Am I replaceable? Why can't I just take a 15 minute break to allow my brain to recharge?

Seriously. I'm pretty sure there's been research that shows WFH has a positive impact on productivity. Aside from meetings, I can count on one hand the amount of times I needed to be in the office to get my job done the past year.

It's almost like companies don't think employees fear unemployment, in the same way they fear unproductive workers.
 

rudy

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To me it's just a preference and I don't understand why companies don't just supply a mix of spaces and allow people to choose what they want. Adjust the spaces as preferences shift. You could have offices outside then half cubicles and a couple open spaces in the middle.
 

HoffY

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I love open designs.


Notice you never got a single "Like" compared to the ratio of other comments?

perhaps you should do some self reflection and understand what that means and more importantly, why. (ya know, something these exec's didnt do)


(said with love ;) )
 

HoffY

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But management loves the culture of fear.
Yep. Just like my bosses installed CCTV cameras for "security only and not to monitor people", but whatch it all day like as if it doesn't record to disk and they have to catch someone walking out with something for it to work.

Yep. "security".

What is it where they used to torture workers through history by having the workers unable to see if they are being watched and only know htey COULD be being watched.

Open offices are a sure fire case of that as well.
 

BreezeDM

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I am a programmer and it does take a long time to remember what the hell you were doing, especially on complex legacy code. Sometimes I just zone out for a few minutes because I know on certain days I will be interrupted again in about five minutes. It takes less brain energy to do the one context switch instead of trying to work on whatever I was working on and then immediately another.

It would be more efficient for me for us to work another way, but I think they like having me immediately available to answer questions.

I do not work in a place where software is thought of as the main product, but more of a helper. I think that this is why they do not realize this...

Like just now... came to post a forum... manager is IMing me... back to work ;)

I work for a company that the main product is software and it is the same thing. One week I got to work from home the entire week because everyone else was at a conference, I got an insane amount of work done that week.
 

BreezeDM

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I've worked in cubicles and currently have a real office with a door. The office is awesome - when I need to focus, I shut my door and distractions are gone.
Cubicles are noisy, but at least you aren't staring at someone all day long. So, when Bob is fighting with his wife again, how could I make faces in his direction without him seeing me? My only saving grace was buying noise canceling headphones. I got so sick of hearing my neighbors issues - and for gods sake, Tony needed GasX.
If I had to work in an open environment, I'd be hating it. It might work if you are doing something collaborative - but I think only in small doses. That said, we do have people at my work in pretty open environments. About half seem ok with it (as a guess - no survey done). One guy with an office like mine doesn't like working in his office. Not sure why - I love solitary confinement!
Oh god, I wish I had this. Pretty much everyone's children and SO are calling them every day at work. The whole day at least one person in my office is talking to their SO or children.
 

Pringle

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Seriously. I'm pretty sure there's been research that shows WFH has a positive impact on productivity. .

A lot of the issues management at my office has with WFH is worker jealousy. Absolutely nobody is allowed to do it, simply because "if one person is allowed, everyone will want to do it." It's horseshit.
 
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