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“If you’re reading this at work, there’s a good chance that you’re sitting at an open desk or communal table. (Hey, is that guy reading over your shoulder? Hi!) And if you’ve been in the workplace awhile, you might be adjusting from the not-so-distant past when you sat in a comparatively private cubicle.
Every generation or two, our offices completely change, driven by culture and consultants. Cubicles, perhaps the most reviled of these trends, were supposed to be the apex of office design. More precisely, the Action Office (zip! swoosh!) was supposed to. A product of the utopian 1960s, this was a flexible, customizable system of office furnishings that balanced community and privacy. It sounds downright revolutionary, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for companies to realize they could take the customized pieces and use them to herd employees into grayscale grids. The Action Office quickly evolved into the Cube Farm.
But the open-plan offices that have cropped up in response are hardly utopian paradises. (Still in a cubicle now? The open-office plan is probably coming for you, too.) Meant to foster conversation, there’s evidence they do the opposite, as employees tune each other out with headphones and use Slack channels to take the place of connecting at the water cooler.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Congratulations, Mr. President. It took an extraordinary effort, but you finally managed to spark a serious global crisis. I know you don’t like to share credit, but don’t worry. The current mess in the Middle East centered around Iran is all..."
"We’re approaching the anniversary of one of the nastiest political battles it has been my misfortune to witness—the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite credible accusations of sexual harassment and assault and his..."
"There are few one-offs in life on Earth—rarely can a single species boast a trait or ability that no other possesses. But human language is one such oddity. Our ability to use subtle combinations of sounds produced by our vocal cords to create..."
"He walked through the coffee shop door and scanned the crowd. A familiar smile bloomed as he recognized me, despite how my appearance had changed over the years. I’m bald and bearded now, and heavier. I wear an extra decade on my face, and I’m..."
"The poverty rate in the United States fell to 11.8 percent in 2018, according to data released last week by the Census Bureau — the lowest it’s been since 2001. But this estimate significantly understates the extent of economic deprivation in..."
"Streaming is the future of TV. But for now a big part of the streaming business revolves around old TV shows. Latest case in point: Netflix is paying a lot of money for the rights to show Seinfeld to its 150 million subscribers around the world..."
"On the eve of the second Israeli election of 2019, there is no shortage of apocalyptic rhetoric about the potential consequences of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election. From the New York Times' editorial column to The Forward’s..."
"Is there a backlash toward the technology industry in the culture? I tend to think so, having written about its various twists and turns most weekdays for the past couple years now. But sometimes an obsession with a beat can lead to myopia, and..."