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We discuss how the workplace environment influences our productivity in this episode of The Engineering Commons.
- Jeff is currently sharing an office, so although he doesn’t have much extra space, he does have a door he can close when necessary.
- Brian uses his office as a storage locker, collecting old printed circuit boards and spare parts.
- Although open-plan offices seem to be quite popular with employers, the concept has recently received a good amount of negative press, as suggested by a recent article in Slate, “Open-Plan Offices Are the Worst.”
- Robert Propst, the inventor of the office cubicle, came to hate his creation.
- A 2013 article in Forbes, “New Research: Workers Hate Their Cubicles,” argued that claims of open-plan offices leading to greater collaboration are not backed by scientific evidence.
- According to a 2014 article in the Washington Post, changes to the IRS tax code during the 1960s caused the office cubicle to become popular with employers.
- Similar changes to the tax code, in 1943 and 1954, led to the United States’ system of employer-provided medical insurance, according to a 2009 NPR report.
- Carmen recreates a scene from the television show “Seinfeld” in which Kramer and Jerry discuss write-offs.
- Listeners wanting to know more about the modern office can check out the book, Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace.
- We reference a few chapters from Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister, in our discussion of the workplace and productivity.
- From Table 8-1 of the Peopleware book, we learn that only 38% of those ranked in the top performance quartile felt they were needlessly interrupted by others, while 76% of those in the bottom quartile felt they were frequently interrupted without cause.
- Phillip Crosby’s 1979 book, Quality is Free, is frequently misinterpreted by managers, according to the authors of Peopleware.
- Jeff cites Parkinson’s Law, which states that work expands to fill the available time.
- In response to an inquiry from Anderew B., here are some podcasts recommended by Adam, Brian, Carmen, and Jeff:
Thanks to Tim Patterson for use of the photo titled “I Love Cubicles…” Opening music by John Trimble, and concluding theme by Paul Stevenson.