IBM is ending its decades-old remote work policy — QuartzTeam proximity appears to help foster better new ideas. One Harvard study found that researchers who worked in close physical proximity produced more impactful papers. Another report used data from badges that collect data on employee interaction to argue that employees who have more chance encounters and unplanned interaction perform better. This idea, known as the “water cooler effect,” has been embraced by the most successful technology companies. Steve Jobs was obsessed with creating unplanned meetings, going so far as to propose building all of the bathrooms in Pixar’s offices in only one part of the building to encourage them (luckily for Pixar employees, someone vetoed this idea). Facebook offers workers a $10,000 bonus if they live near headquarters.
The philosophy behind Gawker's new office space"The office will be on the second and third floors, with a public and performance space connecting the two. That will be open, a thoroughfare designed to promote random interaction. By contrast, the working space will be arranged in what we call studios, spaces contained on three sides designed for teams of half a dozen people or so to collaborate on projects without disturbing others," Denton wrote in the memo."The studio spaces have standard dimensions, defined by the structure of the building. But each will be furnished according to each team's desires. I imagine the Deadspin studio will be an absolute pigsty," Denton told Capital in a gchat conversation.
There are other rooms used for other things—for entertainment, for cooking, for showering, for laundry, for sleeping. There are people who wander in an out, they talk and breath in and out there, and I some days I find each intake and exhale irrationally distracting. Sometimes people stop by, ringing the doorbell because they know you are there (you always are). There are things in the refrigerator, and you need to swing open the door and stare into it many times a day. All of those things tend to compete for oxygen, choking off my available supply until I sacrifice the first thing I can—my work—and then my work turns blue in the face and gasps for air, even though I know that’s scientifically not even possible to be oxygen-deficient under this sprawling suburban sky.