Anyone else hate open plan offices?

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opal
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24 Jul 2007, 6:36 am

I hate them. If it wasn't bad enough, they decided to pull out a couple more walls, so I have even more background noise and inane conversations to try and block out



Michaelmas
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24 Jul 2007, 7:29 am

YES!

We moved to a cylindrical shaped building (from individual boxes - Victorian building) about two years ago. I worked on the 14th floor and the sound of the constant nattering of the tea-breakers (I was placed about 15 feet away from it - only I seem able to take a tea break on my own!) drove me to distraction - eventually (I thought I'd been there 2 years, but it wasless than a year) I went off with stress. AS followed in due course.

I'm returning soon (lack of choice) but will be armed witrh a pair of headphones which I hope will help (I'm going to seek advice from fellow W P ers in due course).

Sorry, most importantly, welcome to Wrong Planet - it is a friendly crowd (not like reallife for me at all).

Michaelmas



Davidufo
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24 Jul 2007, 7:37 am

Yes ....everyone can see everyone else and from every angle (i don't like having people behind me)
and you can hear everything :? :x its much harder to focus.



addsy
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24 Jul 2007, 7:53 am

Open plan offices suck. The company I work for used to be based in an old house split into lots of small rooms/offices with max 2 people in each. There was just me and another techie guy sharing an office which was ideal - quiet, calm etc. Then we moved offices and one of the directors for some incomprehensible reason decided that it would be clever to have everyone in one big open plan office. So now I'm sat right next to the sales people which is a nightmare. Apart from the fact that they never ever shut up for five minutes, they now seem incapable of answering the most trivial of technical (and non-technical) questions - things they would have figured out for themselves before - without shouting them across at us and expecting us to sort it out for them. Given how much effort it can take to get focused and concentrate in this environment, its really annoying to have that concentration broken by some muppet who's forgotten their password yet again. The biggest problem I have with open plan offices tho is the phones. I'm not very good with high-pitched noises, especially digital ones (I always stop the microwave with 1 second to go cos I can't stand the beeps at the end, keep the phone v. quiet or preferably silent etc etc). In the new office, instead of one or two calls a day, the phone rings pretty much non-stop. By the end of the day my ears and head will often be hurting from it all. Fortunately, our other director (not the idiot that suggested the open plan office) is pretty understanding. I spoke to him and he sorted me out with some headphones for my pc so now when it gets too much i can put some soothing tunes on and ignore it all a little more easily. Nevertheless, I am definitely a fellow open plan office hater!!



alex
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24 Jul 2007, 8:01 am

Davidufo wrote:
Yes ....everyone can see everyone else and from every angle (i don't like having people behind me)
and you can hear everything :? :x its much harder to focus.


one idea: put a mirror in your cube so you can see who's behind you.

doesn't fix the noise problems and still doesn't change that they're behind you, but at least you can see them


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girl7000
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24 Jul 2007, 8:14 am

I don't care for open plan offices either. Where I am now isn't so bad as there are only about 8 of us in a very large room, and we have boards up between each desk which are taller than seated head-height for the average person, so this give a little privacy.

As for the noise, I use foam earplugs when I need to (like now - there is a VERY noisy meeting going on the other side of the boards.....) although usually this is a fairly quite office.
There are problems with emergency vehicles driving past with sirens going really loudly, and I have to put my hands over my ears, but everyone knows I have AS, so even though I'm the only one who needs to do this, nobody minds.

The fire alarm is tested weekly at the same time, so I set a reminder 5 mins before in Outlook so that I have just enough time to put in my earplugs!



Davidufo
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24 Jul 2007, 8:44 am

alex wrote:
Davidufo wrote:
Yes ....everyone can see everyone else and from every angle (i don't like having people behind me)
and you can hear everything :? :x its much harder to focus.


one idea: put a mirror in your cube so you can see who's behind you.

doesn't fix the noise problems and still doesn't change that they're behind you, but at least you can see them

This is a good idea ... I don't have a mirror in my area, but I have come to stick a plastic ruler in my pen holder
(which sits on top of my desk) ...that way I can just about see behind me when I need to. (reflective surface)

girl7000 wrote:
There are problems with emergency vehicles driving past with sirens going really loudly

I get quite distracted by this too, especially when I'm focused on something (a project at work), I quite often just stop what I'm doing and wait for it to pass ..and then continue



krex
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24 Jul 2007, 9:21 am

I have never worked in an office but the idea of going from "cubes" to open seems very much like when the social service system decided it was inhumane how many Menatl ill patients were being warehoused and ended up trying to solve the situation resulting in an increase in homeless MI people......the comminality is that when short sited people try and "solve" problems they tend to create more problems.I think the "cubical life" was getting a lot of complaints,so the solution was to return to the 1950's "open site"(watch old movies).


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Nan
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24 Jul 2007, 11:31 am

The noise and distractions can be intolerable in an open-plan office.



Claradoon
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24 Jul 2007, 11:37 am

I hate open plan offices, homes, and shopping places. It's like a sensory avalanche.



MrSinister
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24 Jul 2007, 2:23 pm

I don't mind them... to a point. I find myself sometimes trying to engage in several conversations at once, purely because I'm stuck in the middle of them and not sure which one in which to include myself.

There are times that they really enrage me, though. One of the people on my team, for example, has the absurd habit of coughing REALLY REALLY LOUDLY ALL DAY LONG, or making a sound in the back of his throat like he's gargling with cardboard or something. And someone on another team has the infuriating tendency to frequently laugh so loudly that EVERYBODY ON THE ENTIRE DAMN FLOOR CAN HEAR HER. Grud, it's like nails on a chalkboard.

Grrr. The Civil Service tends to attract all the freaks, it seems... :(

And then there are the times when I just want to be left alone to stew in my own juices, where my face is clearly set to "leave me alone, I don't want to talk to you", and people still insist on trying to engage me (and when I'm in those moods, it's a really bad idea, mostly because it usually leads, paradoxically, to me blowing my top instead of becoming all sweetness and light. It's like trying to put out a fire with gasoline).


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26 Jul 2007, 4:11 pm

I only once worked in an open plan office. I was miserable. Fortunately, I was fired (for feeling miserable) and found a much better job right away.


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26 Jul 2007, 6:40 pm

addsy wrote:
I always stop the microwave with 1 second to go cos I can't stand the beeps at the end

Same here, I hate those beeps! :x



opal
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26 Jul 2007, 10:36 pm

MrSinister wrote:
I don't mind them... to a point. I find myself sometimes trying to engage in several conversations at once, purely because I'm stuck in the middle of them and not sure which one in which to include myself.

There are times that they really enrage me, though. One of the people on my team, for example, has the absurd habit of coughing REALLY REALLY LOUDLY ALL DAY LONG, or making a sound in the back of his throat like he's gargling with cardboard or something. And someone on another team has the infuriating tendency to frequently laugh so loudly that EVERYBODY ON THE ENTIRE DAMN FLOOR CAN HEAR HER. Grud, it's like nails on a chalkboard.

Grrr. The Civil Service tends to attract all the freaks, it seems... :(

And then there are the times when I just want to be left alone to stew in my own juices, where my face is clearly set to "leave me alone, I don't want to talk to you", and people still insist on trying to engage me (and when I'm in those moods, it's a really bad idea, mostly because it usually leads, paradoxically, to me blowing my top instead of becoming all sweetness and light. It's like trying to put out a fire with gasoline).


I agree! I posted about some similar stuff in the "negative people" thread. Apart from this co-worker being negative and bigoted, he is really, really loud. He is tone deaf and whistles off key, and yells accross the room. He also plays really bad country music. I tried plugs,but it isn't a 100% solution.I'm thinking of anonymously reporting him but I don't know if it would help. I think he's been reprimanded for his bigotry before, and he's still a bigot (I heard him actually make a comment to someone that aboriginals should be"culled". Other people have confirmed that that wasn't a one off) Any suggestions??

P.S. I'm not aboriginal, I just find this incredibly offensive.



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26 Jul 2007, 10:37 pm

I work inna smallish cube farm (2 walls per cube, about a dozen people). I do keep looking over my shoulder and I cover my ears when the phones ring. But it could be much worse - most of my department (about 300 people) work on two open-plan floors in another building. Because my branch is infrastructure, we get to work in the building that houses our data centre. And our phones ring less because we use email for most things.



opal
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26 Jul 2007, 10:42 pm

addsy wrote:
Given how much effort it can take to get focused and concentrate in this environment, its really annoying to have that concentration broken by some muppet who's forgotten their password yet again. The biggest problem I have with open plan offices tho is the phones. I'm not very good with high-pitched noises, especially digital ones (I always stop the microwave with 1 second to go cos I can't stand the beeps at the end, keep the phone v. quiet or preferably silent etc etc). In the new office, instead of one or two calls a day, the phone rings pretty much non-stop. By the end of the day my ears and head will often be hurting from it all. Fortunately, our other director (not the idiot that suggested the open plan office) is pretty understanding. I spoke to him and he sorted me out with some headphones for my pc so now when it gets too much i can put some soothing tunes on and ignore it all a little more easily. Nevertheless, I am definitely a fellow open plan office hater!!


Yep, high pitched noise drives me bananas too. Sometimes I have to work around industrial machinary but as long as I have decent hearing protection, the rhythmic "thuds" don't bother me . But if there is high pitched squealing I sometimes have to leave the room - even if I have plugs and muffs on at the same time.

By the way thanks all for the words of welcome. :D