“Cool” Companies Got Rid of Cubicles, Realized it’s a Bad Idea

Mr.Gorbachev tear down this wall” – Richard M. Nixon

Somewhere, someone with a much cooler job title than mine, who attended an institution of higher education much more prestigious than mine, had an idea much better than any of mine. He was the kinda guy who complained about people like me who didn’t do their part in class projects, the kinda guy who never left academia and the kinda guy who wrote a book simply to fuck all of us being strung through the corporate wringer.

His white paper on the perils of cubicles and the perks of open air concept office space caught on somewhere between Napster and MySpace. Every Richard Hendricks with a Shark Tank pitch and a blank check from their angel investor wants to keep up with the Zuckerburgs. Alas, cubicles went the way of the boy band.

But unlike the invertebrates in Silicon Valley, boy bands have a spine and would be willing to admit they were wrong about replacing those beautiful beige dividers with a foozeball table and froyo machine. Instead, these geniuses are paying “interior designers” to outfit their chic open concept workspaces with sound reducing Pier 1 imports, like reclaimed denim, used tires, ancient bamboo etc.

All this to the tune of 100’s of thousands of dollars according to Quartz.

You know what else really cuts down on noise and distractions? FUCKING CUBICLES.


The Case for Cubicles

Sure they might feel like a prison cell from time to time but you don’t have to worry about dropping the soap and you sure as hell don’t have to fear the medical miracle who sits next to you who always has a cold sniffling every 1.7 seconds (but who’s counting?) Those 4 monotone walls are a barrier between you and the mouth breathers in HR and that intern mainlining the Ultra Music Festival live feed. If collaboration created by open-air workspace outweighs productivity-killing distractions, then Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad was the cure for racial tension in this country.

You know what open space is conducive to? So much room for activities. It’s only a matter of time until an unsuspecting SVP catches a Vortex in the temple. And for fuck’s sake, you don’t have to watch past season two of The Office to know that a lack of work blinders will allow for wandering eyes amongst a bunch of sex deprived midnight oil burners. So to surmise, we’ve got our top earner out with NERF PTSD and one of the new hires out on maternity leave.

So the next time an overzealous office manager is thinking of locally sourced, gluten-free ways to absorb noise in the workplace/yoga studio/Italian ice shop, have maintenance dig the cubicles out of the basement. When the whole office isn’t busy eye orgy-ing or turning the conference room into a hacky sack circle, they’ll be doing what they came there to do: work.*

*Take Buzzfeed quizzes