During a new episode of The Talk Show podcast on Daring Fireball, John Gruber touched on the topic of the open floor plans that Apple has implemented within its new campus, Apple Park. A WSJ profile of Jony Ive, where he talked about Apple Park, mentioned how programmers, engineers, and other employees had already expressed concerns about working in such an environment. Gruber shared what he has heard:I heard that when floor plans were announced, that there was some meeting with [Apple Vice President] Johny Srouji's team. He's in charge of Apple's silicon, the A10, the A11, all of their custom silicon. Obviously a very successful group at Apple, and a large growing one with a lot on their shoulders. When he [Srouji] was shown the floor plans, he was more or less just "F--- that, f--- you, f--- this, this is bulls---." And they built his team their own building, off to the side on the campus ... My understanding is that that building was built because Srouji was like, 'F--- this, my team isn't working like this.'"
Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. My last workplace moved from traditional cubicles to 'open floor concept'. I was also dropping f-bombs when the reality of that s---hole sank in.
It was a screw job from the beginning. It was clear it was a big push from the company's facilities side to squeeze more people into less space, regardless of the impact on productivity. A bunch of real estate consultants were hired to do the transition, but they were just there to take the abuse when people realized what a screw job it was. They pretended to take our input into consideration, but each time we saw updated floor plans it was more people in less space.
When we moved in, everything was awful. Basically your "workspace" was a wedge of a semi-circle just barely big enough to avoid rubbing shoulders with the people next to you. It was like working in a call center. In fact that was my nickname for the new office, the call center.
They made a new 'collaboration zone' where there were couches and microwaves, but because of the 'open plan' the minute someone cooked some stinky fish for lunch the whole floor stank. Oh, by the way, one 'feature' was no more trash cans, so we could all protect the environment, yada yada. People were expected to bring any trash to the 'collaboration zone'. Instead, people just left it everywhere.
Very glad I'm out of that workplace these days... Also glad I'm not finding myself in that worker's paradise called "Apple Park".