Office Utopia?

An excerpt from page 30 of The Circle:

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This Utopia is referring to the office spaces in The Circle, which have now expanded to a whole campus, complete with a gym, theatre, health food store, bedrooms, etc.

Although fictional, this campus resembles the offices at Google and Pixar.

Of course, there is no such thing as a general office job, but we do tend to use these words when referring to a variety of jobs that consist mainly of computer based work. The image of a typical office pops up almost immediately – 4 walls, closed door, a desk, a chair, a computer, maybe some filing cabinets in the corner. The typical office today, however, seems to have transformed into a much more open space, London’s The Campus being one example. This is due to the premise – the now commonly accepted premise – that the optimal employees are extroverts who work best in groups and in environments that accommodate instant communication with one’s co-worker. Enter: the office pod.

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In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking Susan Cain claims that most people actually work better in solitude or with minimal distractions (background noise is okay, as long as they are not being addressed directly). She does recognize the value in team work but comes to the conclusion that even in teams people work better when corresponding via email or chat rather than face to face. People who need to get a lot of work done in a short period of time but who normally work in a busy, crowded, noisy office, tend to go anywhere but the office to be more productive. Indeed Cain’s research suggests that the utopia described in Egger’s book is in fact far from it, particularly for introverts.

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