Bookmarked The End of Open-Plan Everything – Walls Are Back by Amanda Mull (The Atlantic)

Where space isn’t available, or when time is of the essence, both manufacturers that I spoke with expect the partition business to attract new customers and competitors for at least the next six months to a year, if not longer. And as the country has already learned this year with faulty masks and fake hand sanitizer, pandemic panic-buying can attract some unsavory operators and pose unforeseen risks to a desperate public—even cutting into a sheet of plexiglass and bolting it to a desk or counter isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. “That acrylic gets in your skin and cuts you, and I think you’d rather get cut with glass,” said Steve Alexander, True Manufacturing’s parts-marketing manager. Walls, in all their variations, aren’t created equally: Hastily purchased panels that haven’t been properly finished at the edges, that aren’t thick enough to stand rigidly, or whose bases are too narrow for their height could cause more problems than they solve, especially in sensitive environments such as hospitals or classrooms. “You can’t have these things fall on third or fourth graders if they go back to school,” Alexander noted. “That would be a big problem.”

Amanda Mull discusses the challenges associated with breaking down years of open planned spaces. Mull discusses the long history associated with the move away from secretarial pools epitomised by companies like Apple and Google, as well as the difficulties with the technology and the subsequent business models around them. She also refers to Ian Bogust’s article which also provides a useful history.
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“In many open-plan offices, the drive for increased interaction and collaboration comes at the expense of the ability to focus and concentrate.” Are you trying to tell me that my insessant “Hey Cathy’s” stop you from focusing 😬
Liked Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70% (Ars Technica)

It was clear from employee surveys and media reports that workers are not fans of the open architecture trend. Employees complain of noise, distractions, lowered productivity, a loss of privacy, and a feeling of being “watched.” On top of that, studies have suggested that open offices can be bad for workers’ health.