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Report: New Apple Park HQ's Open Design is Frustrating Key Talent

If there’s one thing employees everywhere know how to do, regardless of the size of the company and the pay and benefits offered, it’s complain about decisions their employer makes. Apple has recently discovered that much as it works to complete the Apple Park HQ, if the rumors are true.

At a cost of $5 billion, Apple is finishing up its 6-year project to build a new headquarters known as Apple Park. The park was designed to fit specifications Steve Jobs presented before his passing. Highlights on the 2.8 million-square-foot campus include a fitness and wellness center measuring 100,000 square feet, as well as numerous smaller touches right down to fancy fire exit signs.

In a recent podcast episode, however, blogger John Gruber passed along reports that not every aspect of the design is winning the hearts of current employees at the company. Specifically, they are displeased with plans to implement an open office structure that will force them to work side-by-side, face to face.

“I heard that when floor plans were announced, that there was some meeting with Johny Srouji’s team,” Gruber recalled in the podcast. “He’s in charge of Apple’s silicon, the A10, the A11, all of their custom silicon. Obviously a very successful group at Apple, and a large and growing one with a lot on their shoulders.”

So, just how did that meeting go? Did cool heads prevail?

“When he was shown the floor plans,” Gruber added, “he was more or less just ‘F--- that, f--- you, f--- this, this is bulls---.’ And they built his team their own building, off to the side on the campus.”

Gruber did admit the report is not firsthand, and Apple has yet to confirm it. However, confirmation is unlikely forthcoming even if the rumors are true, at least not without going through a PR filter or two (and PR could be in the process of switching offices, so that may have to wait).

Open office environments have proven attractive to corporate leaders and have frustrated their most productive members of staff, going back at least a few years. At Apple, the potential for a costly “brain drain” is a concern if dissatisfied employees depart for another company with working conditions they find more favorable. Have you ever worked in an open office environment?

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