I think the problem lies in the fact that the open office simply doesn’t go far enough. People still have desks on which to rest their laptops and chairs upon which to sit. It’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s never given the matter a moment’s thought that what millennials really want is to rock from one foot to the other while balancing their laptop or tablet on one forearm.
Furthermore it’s important to realize environmental systems can make or break corporate culture. In the old days someone would install a HVAC and set the temperature and occasionally change the filter and imagine all was well. Today, we know (we believe) this isn’t anywhere near good enough. Today’s employees expect a more natural environment. So it’s important to turn on the fire-suppressant sprinkler system for ten or fifteen minutes two or three times each day to simulate a tropical rainstorm. Boost the temperature to emulate that much-wanted Amazon forest sensation. A couple of large plants positioned helpfully in front of exit doors and elevators will go a long way to improving overall ambiance.
Finally, it’s too easy for people to become isolated as they peer at their screens and frantically attempt to complete tasks while also maintaining their social media personae. In order to generate those all-important serendipitous interactions that can lead to amazing new ideas it’s helpful to put a couple of large predators into the building (a tiger and a Kodiak bear are always appreciated) to ensure instant bonding as terrified workers crowd together in an attempt to avoid being mauled and eaten.
This is the office environment we’ve really been waiting for. Hopefully a Big Four accounting firm will be traveling down this road in a city near you very soon…