Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Companies have found increasingly brazen ways to tell employees how little they value them.

Feeling free to contact them 24 hours a day, for example.

Hiring and firing them by text, too.

Then there's office spaces. Open-plan offices are there to create unity, harmony, and communication, aren't they?

No, that's open-plan kitchens in fancy homes.

Open-plan offices are an excrescence that has a deleterious effect on productivity and human nerves.

Few things are more emotionally distressing than walking into an open-plan office and seeing that most of the employees are wearing headphones, in order to pretend they're alone.

It seems that at least some corporate types have realized open-plan offices are imperfect.

Yet, thanks to Fast Company, I've learned the awful way they're thinking of making things better.

A whole industry is rising of companies creating, I hate even to utter it, cubicles.

(I pause to let blessed nostalgia wash over at least some readers.)

These, though, are no ordinary cubicles.

They're phone booths. Well, phone booths with little shelves to rest your laptop.

Yes, you can achieve privacy by slipping away into one of these little boxes and attempting to be unaware that they have large windows through which everyone can see you.

Companies love them because they're so easy to install.

Employees must at least appreciate them because they're intended to shut out some of the office sounds.

But what a symbol of corporate generosity.

You need a little privacy? Here's nine square feet of it.

Please don't be too concerned. The generosity doesn't stop there. 

There are even two-person phone boxes for, um, meetings.

Somehow, it all reminds me of airplane toilets.

Tiny places -- and getting even tinier -- where even the most basic functions can leave you feeling a touch uncomfortable.

I want to be optimistic, of course.

Yet I can't help thinking such edifices merely increase the sense that employees' emotional and physical space is owned by their employers.

Which is surely one large reason why so many people choose to quit.

Published on: Feb 21, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.