I get it! We sit in this one big room so that we can collaborate better. But you know what else is facilitated by this overly-used level of "collaboration?" The spreading of germs.
I have worked in more than one office where if one person gets sick...everyone gets sick. And why is that. Is it because we are licking each other's laptop keyboards (okay, maybe once). No, it's because we can't even clear our throats without throwing all that clearing across the room.
Why do you think buffets have sneeze guards?
I will give you a hint. It is 100% not to protect you from sneezes. It's for that person that goes, "oh my god. Doesn't this looks amazing?" And every syllable in that sentence sends things flying into the air.
If you live in New York or another metropolitan area, I want you to do something for me. Think about the person in the apartment next door to yours. And now imagine there were no walls. Think about how close that person is to you literally right now.
That's what we deal with in an open-platform office everyday. Every cough or sneeze (whether caught by an elbow or a turtle neck) ricochets. Even that hearty laugh from your island-mate can spread something.
Understand one thing. I am (and will never be) a germaphobe. I grew up playing in vacant lots having dirt-bomb fights. To be honest, I have the George Carlin philosophy when it comes to washing my hands.
But, as a society, we have jumped the shark when it comes to this open-platform bullshit. No, I don't think we need to bring back offices. But I do think we need to be able to sit down at our desk and clear our fucking throats, without someone holding their breath.
And make no mistake. When this thing blows over...that's EXACTLY what we are going to be coming back to.
And...fade to Black!
David Prince - Strategy Director