Jul 22, 201301:12 PMOpen Mic
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How to maximize productivity with an open office plan
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Just kidding! That title must have thrown you, huh? I mean, when have I ever advocated for an increase in productivity? That’s crazy talk, kind of like if I said you should be nice to people or put the needs of your children before your own needs. What a crazy notion — after all, you can always make more kids.
Anyway, this article is an homage to Facebook, which is currently in the process of designing what it calls the “largest open office plan in the world,” despite the fact that research indicates that open office plans do the opposite of contribute to productivity. In fact, some studies go so far as to suggest that having an office door increases productivity by up to 200%.
As anyone who’s ever tried to watch two movies simultaneously can corroborate, it’s kind of hard to concentrate when there are 95 other things going on all around you. “So the CIA agent is in love with the princess — no, wait, that’s not right — um, I think the king is mad because his kingdom’s being wiretapped by — no, hold on, just gimme a second …”
So if you are currently slaving away under the watchful eyes of a dozen or so co-workers in your open office, here are two things you can do to ensure that you never get anything done:
Talk to as many people as possible! The idea behind an open office is to foster collaboration. And I’m sure that occasionally happens. But what usually happens is that all those simultaneous conversations start to sound the way they do at baseball games, the mall, bars, and other places where lots of people are talking at once. So join in the fun! Since pretty much all work requires at least some amount of concentration, the fact that everyone’s talking should make it all but impossible for you to concentrate.
After all, if you focus on work, you’re going to miss out on that awesome story the guy next to you is telling about his weekend. He did what in Vegas?