Open spaces, closed doors

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If you want to make more office collisions, you have to increase proximity. Open spaces are now the standard design model for companies looking for more ideas and collaboration. 

Multiple bump-in conversations have replaced those at the water cooler, saving potential email threads from getting out of hand. 

But excess openness “can cause workers to do a turtle” and pop on some headphones to crowd out the excess chatter. 

Like the cubicle before it, which intended to be the ‘action office’ and instead resembled prisons where no one ran into each other, the open floor layout encourages serendipity but has come to resemble a chaotic classroom. External conversations crimp the thinking voice inside a person’s head.

Focus is already scarce in a digital world. Deep work needs time to bloom. Perhaps that’s why working from home is still the best option of all.

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