Are office cubicle layouts largely an American practice? In the UK, I have never seen a cubicle layout in either large or medium offices. Open plan seems to be the default. I've never worked in anything other than open plan offices, so I don't know how I'd adapt to a cubicle, but I wonder just how widespread (or not) the cubicle layout really is outside of North America.
I'm still going to opt for (at least semi-)open workspaces though. Despite the downsides, they encourage communication a lot and it also feels more relaxed. I think most of us know how often a lack of communication is the cause of trouble.
Putting teams (either functional or cross-functional project-based) of 3-6 people each in an open workspace is great for communication. On the other hand, putting a whole office floor as a single open workspace will simply kill productivity and discourage communication because either people will be isolated in headphones so they don't hear their neighbor, or people will avoid discussions there ('let's get a meeting room') so as not to disturb others.
While the research information is relatively thin (as most work related research seems to be), it goes in line with my experience (and probably the commenter you've replied to).
If your work isn't that and requires more collaboration than concentration, open layout offices probably work better for those kinds of work.
Essentially it's another experiment in PeopleWare architecture by Spolsky. I liked that each developer had a private office, but I found that without decoration the blank walls made it feel too much like the set of a 70s movie dystopia.
Chromium seems conservative about large resources.
It's awesome to work in an open plan with other people who are working on THE SAME THING you are working on, and it absolutely sucks to be surrounded by people who are working on completely different things.
Also bad: not being able to find a place to work together on something with other people.
And the worst: not being able to find a quiet place to concentrate, when you need to.
I think the answer is a combination of quiet offices with very many small conference rooms that can be claimed for projects... and a large, anything-goes space (like a cafeteria) for when you don't mind complete chaos.
I am fascinated by this idea of designing a space with the goal of helping employees live longer / happier lives. I would love this for our new space. Is this crazy?
I work at one of the companies listed.
hands down the best and most cultured agency office on my startup trip there last week.
What kind of artificial lighting is good - white lighting or the yellowish, natural lighting.