There’s a long piece by Christina Passariello about Jonathan Ive and the new Apple Park Campus over at The Wall Street Journal. It’s not quite an Ive profile and not quite an Apple Park piece, but something in between.
This bit leaped out at me:
The thousands of employees at Apple Park will need to bend slightly to Ive’s vision of the workplace. Many will be seated in open space, not the small offices they’re used to. Coders and programmers are concerned that their work surroundings will be too noisy and distracting. Whiteboards—synonymous with Silicon Valley brainstorming—are built into floor-to-ceiling sliding doors in the central area of each pod, but “some of the engineers are freaking out” that it isn’t enough, says Whisenhunt.
No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Some of the initial resistance will be the natural human response to any change, of course. But beyond that, there will almost certainly be real issues with moving productive Apple employees out of their offices and into big white open-plan workspaces. It’s going to be a period of adaptation for everyone who works at Apple.
We moved to an aggressively open plan, with almost no offices, when I was at IDG. I think it worked for some people, but it definitely didn’t work for others. Sometimes I think people who work in fields where an open collaborative environment makes sense don’t understand that people in other fields (writers, editors, programmers) might not share the same priorities when it comes to workspaces.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to the day when we see a picture of an occupied Apple Park workspace, with people and desks and the assorted clutter of getting work done. The new, empty spaces sure look beautiful—now let’s see how people feel about using them. Design is how it works, after all.