Factlet of the Day: Office Workers Will Soon Have Less Space Than Supermax Prisoners

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The open plan revolution has wrought its havoc:

The average amount of space per office worker in North America dropped to 176 square feet in 2012, from 225 in 2010, according to CoreNet Global, a commercial real estate association.

Here’s the “explanation”:

Bosses — and the designers and architects they hire — are betting that most employees will not notice the difference. “The balance between individual spaces and community spaces has changed drastically,” said David Bright, a senior vice president of Knoll, the office furnishing manufacturer, “with shared and community spaces taking up a greater proportion of space than they once did.”

….The argument for more communal space is that open offices foster communication and accidental creativity — that serendipity is a plus, if serendipity is defined as bumping into co-workers and chatting about projects they may not necessarily be assigned to.

Oh, I’m willing to bet that employees have noticed the difference. Maybe not the 20-somethings who have never been treated like anything but cattle in their lives, but everyone else feels the squeeze. They’ll shut up about it, because who wants to be the old dinosaur opposed to “communication and accidental creativity”? But believe me, they’ve all noticed.

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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