While researching this subject, I ran across a number of YouTube videos touting (and complaining about) open-plan offices. Here are the eight ugliest and most distracting work environments, IMHO:
1. Google New York
Just what everyone needs, a workplace that looks like a TGI Fridays on steroids. Note how the actual work areas (shown occasionally) are stacked with clutter and files in a pitiful attempt to create privacy. Sad.
2. Friday Media Group
This bargain-basement design features a monolithic Barney the Dinosaur-colored chair in an attempt to create a "fun" decor. Can you imagine anyone sitting in that thing without feeling like a total fool? (See poor guy at 1:06!)
3. Visual Eyes Media
This open-plan design features a depressing color scheme but plenty of natural light through tall windows and wall-mounted mirrors. Try to imagine the eyestrain of actually trying to use a screen. And that atop of the usual noise level. Ugh!
4. The Wonderfactory
Ever wonder what an open-plan office would look like if it were designed by Pee-wee Herman? Well, wonder no more!
5. CBC News
While this purports to be a piece about open-plan offices, it's obvious a cri de coeur from the reporters who are forced to work there.Wow! Notice how close the creepy announcer guy is to the woman working next to him. Eeek!
6. The Panopticon
The concept of the open office originated not in Silicon Valley (as often assumed) but in Victorian England, as a design for the ideal prison. Here's a quick video showing the connection:
7. SBS (Australia)
Another reporter complaining about his open office, and bringing up the fact that C-suite executives always seem to feel that they need a private office. (What? They don't need to collaborate, be creative, and communicate?!)
And, just in case you needed a reminder, another reason that it's good to have a private office (or work from home) is that otherwise you're forced to constantly "collaborate" with guys like this: