The first half of this article explores the advent and growth of the open plan office design and its building block, the cubicle. Readers are introduced to the original 1960s vision of bland partitioned desks that “disappear” into the office, and so avoid the vagaries of fashion. Each workstation would be overlayed by its occupant with individualized decoration that would turn it into “a small slice of home.” Then, the author laments, skyrocketing real estate prices brought on corporate cost-saving measures that squeezed more and more people into less and less space.
Ten years ago a comprehensive survey by a large recruiting firm found that 84 percent of office workers, annoyed by bad strip lighting and overheard phone conversations, wanted a return to small individual offices. New research by the University of Calgary shows that work-rates slow when a colleague is working on a different task within a worker’s field of vision.
Link to original post: Wendy Roby. The Guardian (London); July 21, 2008, p1