These Cube Dwellers Might Like Wide, Open Spaces

Ann All

Just last week we blogged about the ongoing debate surrounding the so-called super-cubicle concept, in which all employees -- including managers -- work in a single, open environment rather than laboring in individual offices or cubicles. The issue came to the forefront when Microsoft announced it would use this type of a layout in some of its new office spaces.


Opinions on the concept tend to be rather strong, with most of its detractors citing a lack of privacy as one of the biggest knocks against it.


Yet the 11 "winners" of Wired's Saddest-Cubicle Contest, announced earlier this month, would probably happily trade some privacy for features like windows, working lights and actual desks.


Wired's top entrant, an IT guy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, already suffers from a lack of privacy, as he works in a makeshift cubicle created by stacking heavily-used filing cabinets. As if that wasn't enough to provide distraction by the comings-and-goings of coworkers, his work area is located near a communal microwave and a poorly-ventilated bathroom. Nice.


At least the plight of these folks will make most of us realize our work areas aren't so bad after all.


My chief complaint, for instance, involves the regulation of temperature (or lack thereof) in the restored historic building that houses IT Business Edge. But at least I don't sit right next to an exterior door like one of the Wired entrants -- whose office is in Minnesota, a state not noted for its temperate climate. Or inside a 40-foot-steel shipping container which its occupant calls "the hamster cage."

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