Apple workers threaten to quit over open-plan office

Tech giant faces revolt after $5 billion redesign sparks a workspace turf war

Apple workers threaten to quit over open-plan office
Tech giant Apple’s new US$5 billion, 175-acre California campus – dubbed “Apple Park” – is set to be completed by the end of the year. The late Steve Jobs was said to have devoted the last two years of his life to the design of his legacy’s new home. But not all of Apple’s employees are too thrilled about its layout. In fact, some are threatening to quit over it.

Apple Park will have programmers, engineers, developers, and other employees milling about in large, communal workspaces – occupying long tables meant to promote collaboration amongst their ranks.

Jon Gruber, a podcaster and contributor to the Apple-related news site MacRumors, said that he received private emails from disgruntled employees who were unhappy with the new office layout.

“Judging from the private feedback I’ve gotten from some Apple employees, I’m 100% certain there’s going to be some degree of attrition,” he said.

Some departments, upset by the lack of peace and privacy in this new workspace, have already started marking out their own territories.

According to Gruber, one vice president ordered a separate building be constructed for his department. Business Insider reported that Apple’s cloud services team will remain in their original headquarters, refusing to move into the new space.

A recent study published by the University of Sydney found that while workers in open offices appreciated the culture of collaboration their physical spaces cultivated, they didn’t feel it was worth the stress and distraction from the bombardment of noise.

Open office layouts have been on the rise for the last few decades, and today have seen a significant boom with the rise of co-working spaces and the popularity of more flexible work arrangements.

But amidst the hype around open workspaces, firms should assess their own workforce needs and decide whether it’s really worth it.

Related stories:
The downside of an open-plan office
Offices: trading in high-rise for hipster

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