Cool Offices: A Perk?

5878292669_e01a02f797_nYou know those cool, lofty offices you see in all the movies in all the movies about startups and tech companies? Well, it turns out they might not be that cool at all. According to the New Yorker’s article The Open Office Trap, open offices, conceived up to facilitate idea flow and communication, actually end up getting in the way of those very things. In fact, organizational psychologist Matthew Davis found, upon reviewing over a hundred different studies of office behavior, that:

Compared with standard offices, employees experienced more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation.

But hey, who wouldn’t trade a little bit of stress, concentration, and motivation for high ceilings, right?

Okay, okay, I’m being snarky. The truth is, I didn’t bring this article up to condemn open offices outright. What I wanted to do was remind you that not every “perk” a company throws at you is actually a perk, and for that reason, as I’ve said before, perks should always be considered second, after, you know, the job itself. A cool office, a cool dress code, or a keg in the kitchen won’t make up for dissatisfaction with your role. So, don’t fall in love with an office culture if you haven’t fallen in love with the job you’ll have to do there.

(photo by Flickr user loozrboy used under a Creative Commons License.)

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