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Apple’s Open Office Rebellion. It’s More Common Than You Think.

illustrated image of employees sitting at a table working on computer and some with heads down

Apple’s Open Office Rebellion. It’s More Common Than You Think.

Open offices highlight large open spaces and shared work areas. They have become a very popular office design concept. In fact, approximately 70 percent of all offices now have an open floor plan. If you’re thinking about making the leap though, you might want to think again. Despite their popularity, open office design can create huge problems. Let’s take a look at the Open Office Rebellion happening at companies all around the world.
 

For a contemporary example, look no further than what’s happening at Apple. One of the world’s most valuable brands, employing more than 116,000 employees nationwide. Apple, known for inspiring the tech world with its cutting-edge products, is drawing raised eyebrows with its “over-the-top” office space in Silicon Valley. But, the futuristic, flying-saucer design may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. This five billion dollar campus, built around the open office concept, is drawing some major criticism from Apple employees.

 
Jon Gruber, a podcaster and blogger that follows Apple, reported on his August 6, 2017 podcast to have received emails from employees.  These emailers threatened to leave the company if the workplace conditions aren’t changed.
 
“Judging from the private feedback I’ve gotten from some Apple employees, I’m 100% certain there’s going to be some degree of attrition based on the open floor plans,” he said in this Macrumors report.

A Unique Problem?

 
It’s not just a problem to Apple employees. Regardless of the business, most employees hate the open office concept. It’s noisy, distracting and forces people to socialize, regardless of what they’re trying to accomplish.
 
Numerous scientific studies indicate that open office plans do not actually foster collaboration. It fosters distraction. The studies show that open office plans decrease productivity while increasing the number of sick days workers take.
 

How Do We Fix It?

 
If the ‘old way’ of private offices and high-paneled cubicle farms didn’t work and the new, ‘open’ way has backfired, what’s next? How do we fix this open office mess? It’s actually quite simple. The next-generation of office space needs to better meet the varied needs of employees.
 
Employees want choices. Outfit your open office with private hubs.  Try low-walled office cubicle banks and moveable walls. Modify the current layout by adding bench desking where easy collaboration is possible. To limit distractions, give employees soundproof rooms to use to focus on their project.
 
Finding the ‘fix’ for the open office rebellion starts by recognizing that all employees work differently. A happy medium between individual workspaces and open free-for-alls does exist. A blended space that gives employees access to both private spots for uninterrupted concentration and collaborative areas for conversing can go a long way toward employee satisfaction.
 
Don’t make changes to your work environment for the sake of following the ‘open office’ trend. You may end up depriving an employee of a work environment essential to their quality of work. At the (Apple) core, workplace design should be more about building an office that recognizes differences.  Employee workspace flexibility makes it easier to be as productive as possible.
 
And, if you’re the employee dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety caused by the open office, take a look at our How To Survive The Open Office Infographic for tips.
 
At ROSI, we’ve helped companies find solutions and save money for nearly 25 years. Our expertise and free space planning are available so you can achieve employee satisfaction and productivity along with cost-savings. Why not get everything you need? Contact us today. 

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