Cubicles are anti-work

While cubicles were developed as the “action office,” they create an environment antithesis to work. Cubicles thwart collaboration.

Says Dilbert creator Scott Adams, ‘cubicles are like prisons.'

Most digital agencies and startups like Square have open offices that encourage human interaction, so-called watercooler chats.

Open spaces increase the chances of overhearing something important, which could clarify a miscommunication, save an email, or lead to the next great big idea. In theory, overcommunication should save employees from having to attend extra meetings.

Note that open spaces do come with their own invasiveness. Coders and editors can justify their use of noise-canceling headphones.

Human interaction is still vital to the workplace

You’ll get more from speaking with a co-worker for a few minutes than you will in an email thread. Serendipity is the name of the game.

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Published by Wells Baum

A daily blogger who connects the dots between arts and life.

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  1. I totally agree with the premise that speaking to a colleague for a few minutes instead of sending five emails is way more productive. I remember when I was working and the principal at the time wanted all messages sent via email. I told her that I didn’t get it because I was literally 20 steps from her office and it would have taken less time for her to come and give me the message personally and she would be sure that I got it. As a teacher we weren’t/aren’t glued to our computers during the teaching day.

  2. On open workspaces: “The idea isn’t that you can interrupt and annoy someone..”

    In practice, that’s what happens, though. Knowledge workers need undisturbed time in the flow.

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