2008-07-23

Party in cube land

From the Kansas City Star

Office cubicle celebrates 40th anniversary

The cubicle celebrates its 40th birthday this month. A party is unlikely.

What’s to celebrate? The cubicle office system is one of the most derided realities of modern work life.

...More

This is an interesting article about the object that has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with white collar work. And yet, it is a significant improvement for workers over the alternative of huge open pens filled with nothing but rows of desks. The analysis in the article touches briefly on a number of these points.

Every now and then I think it might be nice to work in an office again. Then I spend a few days in one and come back to my senses.

6 comments:

haleyhughes said...

I've worked in a big open pen filled with desks and I've worked in a cubicle farm, and I'm not sure which is better. There was much more camaraderie in the big open pen, and I miss that at my current job.

Book Calendar said...

I worked in an office with a mix of cube farm and bull pit. I rather liked the bull pit set up for a bit. I did this during the internet boom. There were more parties with booze and food than I ever had in the government sector.

Jon Clarke said...

Thanks for making me appreciate being a stay at home dad again.

Kathy said...

I pretty much dislike both scenarios. My team was just moved out of a suite where we had our own offices with doors. We are now in a bullpen and don't have our partitions up yet. Yes, it's nice to have an open feeling, but I prefer cubes for privacy and quiet.

Misses her office,
Kathy

Majik said...

Thankfully I don't work in a cubical but a shared office. There are three desks lined up against the wall and I get the only one with a window. I don't think I would like to be working in a cubical, especially if it meant I had to give up the view onto the warehouse floor. The window may only look out onto the floor of the warehouse but at least its not a cubicle.

Cromely said...

@haleyhughes: I'm not sure I could concentrate in an open pen. Too many bright, shiny opbjects

@book calendar: An open pen in the Internet Boom might have been fun. Did they get much work done?

@Jon: There's nothing like going back to a cube environment to appreciate working from home.

@Kathy: I don't know if they still do it, but I understand MSFT used to give everyone an office to keep them productive.

@majic: In "Peopleware" the authors tout the benefits of small work groups like that:

http://cromely.blogspot.com/2007/09/book-review-13-flow-and-gel.html