Open-plan offices are created by psychopaths for psychopaths.
Actually, that isn’t quite fair to psychopaths. Yet, from a lack of privacy to lower productivity, recent complaints about open-plan offices reveal nothing new. These research findings tend to focus on how the design of the space facilitates distraction, as though removing partitions between desks also removes our ability to STFU.
If you currently work from a ‘regular’ cubicle and your company wants to transform the space into an open-plan office, I have one word of advice: run.
On the other hand, if you are consumed by the insatiable desire to be your worst self in an open-plan office, you may follow this checklist, after which I will see you in hell.
2. When you speak with someone who is sitting beside you, speak as though they are sitting six feet underground in another continent. Firmly believe that people at the other end of the office, including those with their earphones in, must know that your “game plan” is to “streamline best practices”.
3. When conducting phone interviews or conference calls, look for a quiet spot so you can hear the other party. Proceed to sit next to the person with their earphones in and put your phone on speaker mode.
4. Use your colleagues’ items without their permission. There are no desk boundaries, so whatever is theirs is the entire office’s. That Starbucks voucher in their bag? Yours. Their water tumbler? Yours. Their mobile and laptop charger? Definitely yours.
5. Interrupt your deeply focused colleague rushing for a presentation in 10 minutes to “pick their brain” and “bounce ideas”. Once they set down their task at hand and agree to hear you out, decide that you don’t need their input anymore.
6. Persistently ask that one introvert in the office out for lunch, even if you don’t really want to spend time with them and even if they have continuously indicated disinterest. Get tips from the insurance agent who continues to ask you out for coffee three years after you turned him down.
7. Emphasise the importance of “collaboration” and “communication”. Call for a brainstorming meeting every hour and use post-its to create a mindmap of your “thought starters” and “top line ideas”. The more brightly coloured your Post-its, the higher the productivity!!
8. Hang around your colleagues’ desks every morning to “touch base”. If they appear too engrossed in their work, tap your feet, click your tongue, and pace within a 50-cm radius. There may be no ‘i’ in team, but you are determined to put the ‘you’ in fuck you.
9. Embrace a flagrant disregard for rules and structure. First, start wearing shorts and slippers to work. It is essential for people to see that you’re “thinking outside the box”. Next, arrive an hour late. Finally, decide you, the only employee who matters, can’t concentrate in silence. Put your Metallica playlist on speaker.
10. Be aggressively passive-aggressive. You’re merely 30, not an adult who confronts situations head-on. So, sigh audibly when someone drags their chair or shuffles their slippers, hash out your grievances via Slack even though the person is seated next to you, and publish articles like this.