Some Apple Park Employees Said to Be Dissatisfied With Open Office Design

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    During a new episode of The Talk Show on Daring Fireball, John Gruber touched on the topic of the open floor plans that Apple has implemented within its new campus, Apple Park. Unlike office spaces at One Infinite Loop and other Apple-owned buildings -- which give most employees their own office -- Apple Park sports a large open floor plan with long tables for programmers, engineers, and other employees to work at.

    Apple Park's open office spaces have been highlighted in numerous profiles on the campus, most recently by The Wall Street Journal in July, and now Gruber has reported that he's received emails from numerous Apple employees who are particularly dissatisfied with the design (via Silicon Valley Business Journal).

    Standing desks within one of Apple Park's open offices

    One source is said to have been with the company for 18 years. They emailed Gruber, telling him that they're working on something that is "going to blow people's minds when we ship," but before that happens their team is transitioning to Apple Park. Gruber noted that the email was very level-headed and had a "perfect Apple sensibility," but the source nevertheless said that if they don't like the Apple Park workspaces, they're likely to leave the company after the product ships.

    Gruber said he got a "couple of similar emails," with employees stating that they won't outright quit before they move to Apple Park, but if it's as bad as they think it's going to be then they will consider leaving Apple. During the podcast, Gruber and special guest Glenn Fleishman pointed out numerous disadvantages to an open work space, particularly for coders and programmers who aren't used to a lot of foot traffic and noise in their vicinity while they work.

    Gruber went on to mention Apple vice president Johny Srouji as one of the employees dissatisfied with the Apple Park office spaces. Srouji was allegedly so against the changes that Apple "built his team their own building" outside of the main spaceship building.
    The idea that open work spaces at Apple Park could potentially "irk" employees goes back to some of the original profiles on the building. Last year, Bloomberg explained that there will be "few traditional offices" at Apple Park, and management will have to be at a vice president level or above to get their own formal office space, although there is reportedly potential for employees below this level to be eligible. During the company's presentations to the Cupertino city council, Apple's viewpoint indicated an open floor plan is "conducive to collaboration between teams."

    In other Apple Park news, some Snapchat users have recently noticed that a handful of construction workers and visitors at the campus have been taking enough snaps to accumulate into a Snapchat Story of its own. If you're on the app, you can search "Apple Park" from the main screen to find the Story. The new "Snap Map" also shows an increase in picture-taking activity at Apple Park.


    Apple Park opened to the first round of employees over the summer, and the campus will eventually house close to 12,000 workers. Over the past few years, drone footage has consistently documented construction on the site, originally referred to as Apple Campus 2, with more recent updates focusing on the advancements made to the area's landscaping and the Steve Jobs Theater.

    Article Link: Some Apple Park Employees Said to Be Dissatisfied With Open Office Design
  2. Appleaker, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017

    Appleaker macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2016

    I’m not surprised, the whole ‘open and collaborative work space’ stuff can go to far, and it’s become a joke. They should be building it around employee needs.
  3. berrymetal macrumors regular


    Jul 25, 2017
  4. zorinlynx macrumors 601


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    I don't understand this push towards open floor plan offices.

    Software development and engineering are highly focused activities. You get "in the zone" and work on your problem to find a solution. You might have several things going on in your head at once that all have to be there to figure out the problem.

    Having people walking by, interrupting you and otherwise hassling you when you're in "the zone" can set you back quite a bit. At least for software developers and engineers, open floor plans are a horrible idea. At the very least have cube walls that come up high enough to give you a more quiet space.

    I personally have an "office" with walls that don't go up to the ceiling, such that I can hear things going on outside even though when the door is shut, no one can see me. And even with that, stuff going on outside my office can distract me and throw off my train of thought. It must be horrible for workers in true open plan offices.
  5. AJ5790 macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2016
    You’ll never please all of the people all of the time with any design. Not surprising.
  6. autrefois macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2003
    Somewhere in the USA
    Forcing something new on people who don't want it just because Apple thinks it's better for them even when people say they don't want it? Definitely sounds like something Apple would do unfortunately.
  7. benroberts3 macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2012
    First off, it's pretty sad to see people complain about something like this. The campus looks amazing and most people on the outside looking in would probably say it's an incredible design and a great place to be.

    Regarding the quote below:
    "They emailed Gruber, telling him that they're working on something that is "going to blow people's minds when we ship," but before that happens their team is transitioning to Apple Park. Gruber noted that the email was very level-headed and had a "perfect Apple sensibility," but the source nevertheless said that if they don't like the Apple Park workspaces, they're likely to leave the company after the product ships."

    This person can enjoy their new "open desk" for another 2-3 years since this so called "mind blowing" product won't ship for quite a while. The next big thing is the HomePod which is slated for December.
  8. Reason077 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2007
    Welcome to the real world, pampered Apple employees! That office space looks pretty luxurious (and spacious!) compared to many I've worked in. For most of us, the days of private offices - or even cubicles - are long gone.

    In any case, it's Apple we're talking about here. There'll be no shortage of qualified candidates lining up to take their jobs if they can't handle such hardships!
  9. Zirel, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017

    Zirel Suspended


    Jul 24, 2015
    Of corse, the same well known liars are going to make anything up that nobody can say it’s true or false, because 99% of people will willingly ignore the “alleged” part of the title (like MR just did), which in journalistic terms means “we ran out of actual news, so we are making stuff so we can sell ads”.

    Apple makes a closed space = Apple Campus is a tasteless cubicle land! See how Google is so much better because they have open spaces! Apple’s culture of secrecy blah blah some BS!

    Apple makes an open space = Open spaces are bad and Apple employees are reuniting underground seeking to overthrow the government.

    Btw, WSJ is a front for Google, why didn’t they publish the fact that Google is trying to patent the work of a Polish mathematician in the US as their own invention?,

    Is this less important than some jibber jabber clickbait BS?
  10. johannnn macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2009
    Some are not happy? Well some users won't be happy about the new iPhone 8 either. Everyone will never be happy. Boring news article.
  11. DavidLeblond macrumors 68020


    Jan 6, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    I think the idea is everyone should be focused and thus no one will be interrupted. Of course this only works as a concept. Probably come up with by a dude in a private office.
  12. WorkMeh macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2017
  13. mjfutures macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2014
    I'm with this guy... 'F--- that, f--- you, f--- this, this is bulls---.'
  14. GeneralChang macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2013
    As an employee at a company with an open office floorplan like this, I can confirm that it really does bug the heck out of some people. Other people really like it. The rest of us are just really easily distracted. I suspect Apple's employees will find a similar spread of reactions.
  15. Jsameds macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2008
  16. tkukoc, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017

    tkukoc macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2014
    Wish I Was In Space!
    Open offices are horrible, having worked in multiple types. I couldn't stand hearing everyone all the time. If it was sectioned off by group it might not be terrible but extreme open is just not a good working environment for me.. to others it might be fine.
  17. HobeSoundDarryl, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    What??? Needs???

    What Apple needs to do is hold a "big reveal" show and tell those employees why they should love it as Apple has chosen to serve it up. Then bask in the "Shut up and take my privacy & quiet" chorus.

    If that doesn't work, refer them to fanbase-loaded websites and the usual players will then rip into them for not loving exactly what Apple has chosen to "sell" (er provide for) them... slinging some "don't like it? Leave your job you ungrateful #$%!@%" and maybe a dash of "I think it is a perfect environment they should love" (and I'm calling that perfection from my armchair without even being close to such an environment or trying to do a job like coding in one).

    Can these employees ultimately be called "trolls" if they come back with logical counterpoint instead of just accepting the fan's "tow the company line" rationale?

    Besides, I've already heard that "99.9% of Apple employees want it exactly as it has been designed." And I've heard that floor spaces that differ in any way are "abominations" and "antiquated" as opposed to the "the future" that all should love forevermore... or until Apple might choose to change it- whatever comes first.

    All ;)
  18. DonReiberGraphix macrumors newbie


    Jun 8, 2015
    I am sure Apple has some sort of plan or mechanism to change or reallocate space as they see fit for secluded team areas or individual offices. Maybe they are waiting for team and staff to fill in to see what is needed and what functions better for certain departments.
  19. danapellerin macrumors newbie


    Apr 11, 2017
    There's always a certain amount of people who act like spoiled brats every time there's change. Suck it up. I've been at my company (a hospital) for 20 years and they've crammed us into all sorts of environments. I sat in the basement by the morgue, with no windows, for a few years so excuse me if I don't have sympathy for people moving into the nicest building on the planet.
  20. RickInHouston macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2014
    Kinda sounds like iOS and icons you can't delete.

    Oh, snap!
  21. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    It's a matter of personality I guess. I can imagine however that in everything related to computer science you tend to have a good chunk of peoples who have personalities that value having some lone time and privacy.
  22. GeneralChang macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2013
    It's very much a YMMV sort of thing. Like you, we've got some engineers that really hate getting distracted, even if they're wearing quality noise-cancelling headphones, by someone just walking past. Some of our other engineers really appreciate being able to bounce ideas off of each other and actually work better in that situation. The best solution may actually be to have an office that's half-and-half, so you can accommodate both personality types.
  23. Mr. Dee macrumors 65816

    Mr. Dee

    Dec 4, 2003
    With the amount of noise echoing from a 2016/2017 MacBook Pro keyboard, multiply that by 100 in an open environment and you can likely get why this would not be a great fit for a programmer.
  24. zorinlynx macrumors 601


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    One nifty idea would be to have cube walls you can raise and lower as needed.

    The need for privacy isn't a constant one. Sometimes you're concentrating on a software dev issue, other times you're designing something with your coworkers. It varies.
  25. brian3uk macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2016
    I have to agree with the open office hate. If coworkers were considerate then it might not be a big issue but they rarely are. Some folks are more immune to ambient office noise and just assume everyone else is too. They talk too loud, hit their keyboards too hard, eat lunch at their desk, chew gum loudly, cough, sneeze, click their pens, and so much more. You don't notice just how noisy other people are until you're surrounded all day long.

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