Friday, January 25, 2008

Ah, cost cutting is wonderful! Wha? I said, COST CUTTING IS WONDERFUL!

Corporations are under the "what have you done for me lately?" pressure. If sales grew 48% one quarter, then a 47% growth the next quarter can be disastrous. Hence, cost-cutting.

For the last nine years, I have been a happy cubicle-dweller. While and my new Jabra headphones have reduced distraction issues somewhat (although to be honest, they introduce their own), the idea of having to make corrections to a workplace design begs the question of why the workplace wasn't designed correctly in the first place.

Finland for Thought unloads on the Dilbertization of the workspace:

Pretty soon I want to blog about how every article I have ever read about the “open office” style workplace has been negative, saying things like it reduces peoples’ productivity, increases stress, and it takes 15 or so minutes for a person to get over a distraction and get back into their work. Some of the studies use empirical evidence, such as looking at the amount of stress hormones in peoples’ urine or how they behave. This basically means that a large part of office type workplaces in Finland are bad for your health and therefore the people are much less productive than they could be. This doesn’t just mean Finland either - many countries use the Dilbert cubicles and some workplaces even go so far as to have totally open offices. For now, I have to make my head swim in music and “active noise cancelling”. One person at work actually uses a pair of Peltor ear protectors, which is what you use for chainsawing, grind-cutting metal, using a jackhammer and stuff like that.

As goes Finland, so goes the U.S. Can you imagine an honest corporate annual report?

Our cost-cutting measures have placed our workers, the ones who are designing and making the products and services you need, into a jackhammer-like atmosphere. No wonder we outsourced our customer service to India - our local employees were too stressed to talk to you!

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Earl said...

Hard-walled offices would improve worker productivity, but unfortunately much of the corporate world has gone with cubicles and open-space designs. This problem annoyed me so much that I developed an app (ChatterBlocker) to deal with it.

I bet companies could rent their hard-walled offices to the employees who want them the most; a bit too much like the company store, though.

Earl Vickers

Ontario Emperor said...

Earl, just found your comment. Will check out ChatterBlocker. (Currently I use