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Open offices are overrated

If you work in an office, there’s a good chance it’s an open one. How did we get here? And why is it so bad?

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Open offices have been around a surprisingly long time. But they’re relatively misunderstood for their role in workplace culture. Where did open offices and cubicles come from, and are they really what we want?

This episode of Overrated explores the history, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Herman Miller, and other key figures in the office design movement. Our workplaces haven’t always been this way — this is how we got here. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what’s really driving the events in the headlines. Check out to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app.

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Comments (22)

  1. Yessss, I hate it. I'm right in front of the coffee and water/ice machine we have. Further I see people walking in my peripheral vision all the time. I need a square around my desk!!! I hate it. I hate hearing people talk around that area too. Like please go away

  2. I am overjoyed to begin working remotely in a few weeks. Goodbye open office.

  3. Biggest problem: I can't be my weird self in an open office.

  4. Please do one about the layout of classrooms

  5. Open offices are the absolute worst. I would much gladly take a cubicle over this garbage.

  6. Open office means slowly suffering hearing loss due to having to blast music all day with headphones for 8 hours 5 days a week

  7. Thanks to open offices now, ignoring people and ask them to lower their volume are part of my daily to-do activities..

  8. I hate open space offices! No one can get any work done.

  9. Open offices should be prohibited by law. There's no better place for development of various psychosomatoses and hate towards the others. I'm so happy for my little room, where I'm alone. It's a perfect quiet place with plenty of privacy where I can fully concentrate on my work. If I were forced to work in a room with more than 3 people, I'd become a serial killer. Dress code should be banned as well.

  10. I find this very ironic because I’m doing a project on modern architecture

  11. Offices used to be personal studios filled with furniture to organise and file your work, papers, stationary and tools, where the latest technology was provided to help you think, write and design. The open office made sense in the past when there was a lot of physical movement and trading of handwritten documents, completely unnecessary in todays digital workplace. The private office, even if it had to be cubicles, allowed you to work unjudged by nosy peers/bosses with more silence whilst still open to communication who visited "your" space. Now these jokes of what we call open offices are little more than cheap lunch tables and chairs that you keep your personally bought laptop on like your no better than a student at university. All whilst sitting uncomfortably close to everyone else and your boss acts like your friend when really hes constantly looking for a reason to fire someone. But you know Bob, that'll only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

  12. back to work guys stop watching this video

  13. Hindsight 20/20😅 that’ll be so funny next year

  14. You get a thumbs up and of course I agree totally.  Give me a nice cozy, closed in office any day.   Brainstorming is so much easier.

  15. I miss my old company's cubicle

  16. It replicates the depressing, oppressive environment of trying to get something done in a middle school computer lab but with better technology and higher stakes

  17. ware i work it look like 90s

  18. For someone like myself who's not only sociable but also has ADD, working in an open office has been incredibly challenging with respect to my own productivity. As an analyst, I feel like it makes much more sense to have some privacy.

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