Open Space Offices (Again)

Nathan, over at thoughts from the red planet, blogs about The inexplicable rise of open floor plans in tech companies. I've long been puzzled about this myself and have written about it before, most recently in my The Insanity of Open Space Offices post.

I like Nathan's post because he crunches the numbers to show that it doesn't make economic sense. That's significant because the only honest excuse for having an open space office is that it's cheaper. Except that it's not. Not when you factor in loss of productivity. It turns out that it's not even close. Nathan originally estimated office space at $36/ft2/month and made a strong case against open space offices. It turns out, though, that it's actually $36/ft2/year, which makes his case stronger by a factor of 12.

One can argue about Nathan's estimated loss of productivity but not, I think, convincingly. Those of us who actually do development know the truth of this cartoon about the cost of interrupting a programmer. If you're running a development shop and care about getting things done, be sure to read Nathan's post. If you're a developer suffering under an open plan office regime, you should read it too. Perhaps it will give you some ammunition.

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