Office Hell: the Demise of the Playful Workspace
In the early 90s, cutting-edge advertising agency Chiat/Day announced a radical plan, aimed at giving the company a jolt of creative renewal. They would sweep away corner offices and cubicles and replace them with zany open spaces, as well as innovative portable computers and phones. A brand new era of “hot-desking” had arrived.
Problems quickly began. Disgruntled employees found themselves hauling temperamental, clunky laptops and armfuls of paperwork all over the office; some even had to use the trunks of their cars as filing cabinets. Soon, the unhappy nomads had had enough.
Bad execution was to blame for the failure of this “playful” workspace. But Chiat/Day had made another mistake here, too – one that was more serious, more fundamental and altogether more common.
For a full list of sources for this episode, go to timharford.com.
Tim is taking your questions. Do you have any queries about one of the stories we've covered? Are you curious about how we make the show? Send in your questions, however big or small, and Tim will do his best to answer them in a special Q&A episode.
You can email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voice note at 914-984-7650. Please be aware that if you're calling from outside the US international rates will apply.