The Open Office Concept Just ‘Jumped the Shark’

Studies prove the open office is a terrible concept for employees. We naturally seek out private space, meaning all those artist’s renditions of happy collaboration in a glorified warehouse are lies. Now, we’re being asked to wear horse blinders, and… no. Just, no.

Created (and, shockingly, approved) in Panasonic’s “Future Life Factory,” a device named the “Wear Space” wants to block your peripheral vision via a panel and pump your ears full of muzak via built-in noise-canceling headphones. (Side note: We don’t know if you have to listen to muzak, but if your life is so desperately sad that you willingly strap on the Wear Space, we say go full heel.)

Speaking to Dezeen, Panasonic says it’s positioning Wear Space specifically for the open-office employee:

As open offices and digital nomads are on the rise, workers are finding it ever more important to have personal space where they can focus. Wear Space instantly creates this kind of personal space – it’s as simple as putting on an article of clothing.

Wear Space is also being crowdfunded on ‘Greenfunding,’ a Japanese Kickstarter clone, for about $260 per pop. At the time we write this, the product is just over 50 percent funded. We’re hoping that’s a lot of shadow-funding from companies (and maybe even Panasonic employees), and that no independent individuals are actually funding this thing for production.

Wear Space Open Office

What you’re seeing here is essentially a cubicle for your face. The entire concept is to block out distractions and let you have your own private space to think freely and work efficiently. We can’t fault Panasonic for the concept, or even executing on it, but what a sad joke this is.

And look at the size of this thing! Opponents of cubicles like to mock their tiny size, but this is definitely worse.

You shouldn’t buy these. Period. If you’re an independent contractor, please invest more than $260 in yourself and find an actual quiet space to work. If your boss suggests buying these for the team, we humbly suggest you find a Staples catalog and rip out the pages advertising cubicle walls and plaster their office with them.

Wear Space is stupid, and indicative of the rabbit’s hole we’ve gone down with open office spaces. And if this fever dream someday becomes reality and your boss insists you wear this monstrosity, do it – then head to Dice from your now-oh-so-very-private “desk” and find yourself a new job. If the open office is jumping the shark, you should jump ship.

5 Responses to “The Open Office Concept Just ‘Jumped the Shark’”

  1. Once again, life imitates art. Dilbert predicted this decades ago with the “Head Cubicle”. Sorry I don’t have time to dig up the strip, but it looked remarkably like this thing except that it was enclosed on all four sides, made out of tiny cubicle walls.
    Curiously, a study done on actual workers before and after conversion to an “open plan” office revealed that communication by email/text/messaging increased, and face-to-face communication in person decreased, after the open plan conversion. They speculated that since people were sensitive to how their voice carries in a open office, and how walking around creates visible disruptions, people were less willing to actually, you know, TALK to their co-workers, and relied more on quieter methods. So much for improving communications.

  2. Cameron

    Actually I think it is cool. I get the compulsion to sensationalize it. Way too expensive. But I’m always intrigued by something that can change my perception of space.