Tag Archives: private offices

a case for quiet and privacy at work

The Rise of the New Groupthink

The reasons brainstorming fails are instructive for other forms of group work, too. People in groups tend to sit back and let others do the work; they instinctively mimic others’ opinions and lose sight of their own; and, often succumb to peer pressure.


The one important exception to this dismal record is electronic brainstorming, where large groups outperform individuals; and the larger the group the better. The protection of the screen mitigates many problems of group work. …. [The Internet] is a place where we can be alone together — and this is precisely what gives it power.


[R]ecent studies suggest that influential academic work is increasingly conducted by teams rather than by individuals. (Although teams whose members collaborate remotely, from separate universities, appear to be the most influential of all.) The problems we face in science, economics and many other fields are more complex than ever before, and we’ll need to stand on one another’s shoulders if we can possibly hope to solve them.

But even if the problems are different, human nature remains the same. And most humans have two contradictory impulses: we love and need one another, yet we crave privacy and autonomy.

To harness the energy that fuels both these drives, we need to move beyond the New Groupthink and embrace a more nuanced approach to creativity and learning. Our offices should encourage casual, cafe-style interactions, but allow people to disappear into personalized, private spaces when they want to be alone. Our schools should teach children to work with others, but also to work on their own for sustained periods of time. And we must recognize that introverts like Steve Wozniak need extra quiet and privacy to do their best work.



all creative work must be done in isolation

Creating Perfect Solitude for Creative Focus – Leo

Collaboration and connecting with others is a beautiful thing, but in the end, creation is done in solitude. All great art is done in isolation. All creative work must be done by shutting out the outside world, sitting down, and creating.

a case for knowledge workers having separate offices, including software developers. a big part of knowledge work is creative by nature.

Open-plan offices sickening, unproductive

… review of all literature on the subject found that open-plan offices, which put multiple workers together in the same space, caused high levels of stress and staff turnover, increased workplace conflicts and feelings of insecurity from lack of privacy, caused loss of concentration due to excessive noise, and increased the risk of high blood pressure and infectious diseases.


“All the studies we reviewed had the same conclusion – that the open-plan work environment is one of the worst environments in which you can put an employee.

“The only advantages of working in such an environment is that you can give people the opportunity to communicate better. It can be a much friendlier environment.”

However, the cons far outweigh the pros