Managers and bean counters tell themselves all sorts of pretty lies to justify open office plans. It will increase collaboration, they say. Employees will know what the rest of the team is doing and be better able to solve problems, they think. Yet, somehow, despite all the putative benefits, these managers virtually never think it’s a good idea for them. That’s because deep down they know it’s really about being cheaper and they won’t have to endure it so why not?
Sadly, Apple has joined the list of companies that should know better but don’t. Their new headquarters is going to feature open office space for engineers, developers, and other employees. The employees aren’t happy. Some of those employees say they are planning to or considering leaving the company. It’s those engineers and developers that have made Apple the success it is. Inflicting the horror of an open office on them seems like an ungrateful—and ultimately self-destructive—thing to do.