An open approach?

<p><i>Joel Rickett writes:</i></p>
<p>The open plan-revolution is finally here. Penguin's gleaming new 80 Strand headquarters are ready to receive the Brick Laners, and Little, Brown staff have already had a month in the genuinely impressive 100 Victoria Embankment. For both publishers, personal offices are a thing of the past.</p>
<p>Of course for most people who work in publishing there's no real revolution. Open-plan layouts have long been the norm across most departments. But senior managers, director and editors have often merited those four precious walls. Now, despite some virulent protests, they're out on the floor with the rest of the teams (albeit with plush rooms to retreat into if the going gets tough).</p>
<p><a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/in-depth/feature/48378-open-plan-office-pol... can read about the open-plan issues, both serious and light-hearted, here</a>. It basically boils down to this question: do open-plan office layouts encourage teamwork or restrict individual creativity? More widely, are they democratic, fluid spaces or an Orwellian plot so companies can keep tabs on employees?</p>
<p>Please weigh in with your experiences below. I'd particularly like to hear from Penguin and Little, Brown staffers working in the new spaces (post anonymously if you like). Are the &quot;reading rooms&quot; being used? Have the modernist sofas and free coffee won you over? Do the startled publishing directors look like rabbits in the headlights?</p>
<p>Personal disclosure: open-plan is all I know - I've only ever worked on shared desks. It can certainly be distracting but you learn how to screen out the white noise. It becomes second nature to write a 2000-word feature while gossip, rows or even singalongs surround you.</p>
<p>Yes, you can listen to other people's conversations, but hearing one-side of a telephone call is usually confusing and tedious . . .</p>