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

Apple Park and its open office design are off to a bumpy start, despite a hefty budget and good intentions.

13

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?

Contributing Editor
Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 11, 2017 11:43 AM

    Jason Venter posted a new article, Report: New Apple Park HQ's Open Design is Frustrating Key Talent

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 11:48 AM

      Bunch of Marys

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 12:24 PM

      My god. Entitled fucks. Yuck.

      • reply
        August 11, 2017 7:58 PM

        Aren't you in HR in the Bay? Everyone is an entitled fuck here!

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 12:24 PM

      You mean to tell me that a bunch of geeks (typically introverts) don't work well when forced out of their comfort zone? Shocking!

      • reply
        August 11, 2017 8:18 PM

        It's more that engineers need a certain amount of "not fucking being constantly interrupted" to be productive. There's been a ton of studies on this and this type of layout is the antithesis of that type of environment.

        I'm sure it's great for the artistic types, but I would find it untenable. Even cubicles with the low walls is really distracting.

        • reply
          August 12, 2017 1:14 AM

          It takes me up to 30 minutes of concentration to get to the point where I can add more stuff (if I'm doing something difficult), and an interruption in that 30 minutes sends me back to square one again.

          Ten conversations a day means zero productivity :( it can be infuriating.

        • reply
          August 12, 2017 5:08 AM

          We have a pretty open setup at my office and recently had our seating arrangement redone. I now sit next to 2 guys who are on escalation phone calls pretty much all day long and it's a huge distraction. My only option is to drown out their noise with louder noise from my headphones. Fortunately I can work remotely some of the time so I get a break from it but it's still not ideal.

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 12:24 PM

      I'm especially tickled by the fact that all the execs all retained their traditional office space layouts

      • reply
        August 11, 2017 12:38 PM

        We wouldn't dream of making them interact with the peasants!

        • reply
          August 11, 2017 8:14 PM

          They need to have doors for when they're having private discussions with their reports (performance reviews, etc).

          I'm no fan of open layouts, but criticising management for keeping offices is kind of ridiculous. They have very good reason for requiring it and anyone in HR should agree with that.

          In closing, fuck open layouts in general.

          • reply
            August 11, 2017 10:18 PM

            I have an office with a door. I ain't criticizing anyone!!!

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 12:25 PM

      I really can't let on how much I browse the web at work.

      • reply
        August 13, 2017 3:59 AM

        You joke, but I wonder if that's not precisely why everyone seemed to move to open office spaces at roughly the same time.

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 12:26 PM

      I'm just curious whether the open design came from Steve Jobs's specifications or elsewhere

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 12:29 PM

      I feel bad for them and their 6 figure salaries.

      • reply
        August 11, 2017 12:58 PM

        Yeah. I don't see how anyone can be expected to enjoy their 6 figure income while working at one of the most profitable companies in the world if they don't have total comfort.

      • reply
        August 11, 2017 7:59 PM

        So if they were making less, their complaints would be more valid? You can pick from hundreds of companies in the Bay with great working conditions, so why deal with shit that you dislike if you can go elsewhere?

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 12:39 PM

      It's amazing given Apple's reputation for meticulous planning that they never thought to ask the employees what they wanted in this massive project with years of planning.

      • reply
        August 11, 2017 12:47 PM

        Employees don't know what they want until Jobs tells them. Even more fun dealing with that when it's second-hand instead of straight from jobs-memos

      • reply
        August 11, 2017 1:47 PM

        But you can't make everyone happy.

      • reply
        August 11, 2017 7:50 PM

        Isn't that pretty much how Apple designs all of its hardware?

      • reply
        August 11, 2017 10:17 PM

        does it really matter? it's like deciding between gif and gif.

    • reply
      August 11, 2017 8:00 PM

      This is the employee equivalent of removing the headphone jack