67 curses of the open plan office
To mark the programme The Curse of Open Plan, a documentary in which Julian Treasure explores how open plan design affects us, we thought we would put together a list of some of the biggest office annoyances. But don't worry, we are sure you are never guilty of any of these.
1) The lingering aroma of recently microwaved prawns.
2) Trying to be both positive and openly sarcastic as you write in the birthday card of someone you hate.
3) The person you pass on the way to the toilet who is ALWAYS playing solitaire.
4) How, for a brief moment, forgetting your security pass feels like the greatest personal calamity ever suffered by a human being.
5) The teeth-clenching evangelism of a new cyclist.
6) Getting dragged into someone else’s thermostat war.
7) Knowing, just knowing, that a colleague’s endless sniffling is laying the groundwork for a future sickie.
8) Being so hungover that you’re not really sure you’re there at all.
9) Accidentally placing kisses at the end of an email and considering Tuvaluan self-exile.
10) Seeing someone sobbing at their desk and there is no way you’re going to find out why.
11) The horror of realising you’re on the fifth deferment for seeing a workmate’s band and next time you will just have to go.
12) Wondering why the person next to you is googling ‘dangers of windsurfing’.
13) Witnessing an actual mid-life crisis unfold as your manager enters on a razor scooter.
14) Being convinced that someone across the room is loudly organising some kind of assassination over the phone.
15) Deliberately ignoring someone’s new haircut until they reply to your meeting request.
16) A colleague bringing their dog into work and their unnerving relationship they have with that dog.
17) How the simple act of forgetting to bring a charger can prove conclusively that there is no God.
18) The fact that tinsel is supposed to be cheering and yet is somehow is the most depressing substance on Earth.
19) Wondering why they insist on flip-flops with feet like that.
20) The equation that states: ‘If he’s allowed to go off and smoke then I’m allowed to watch four episodes of Project Runway in lieu’.
21) The unfettered tyranny of secret santa.
22) “Oh! You’re doing another sponsored fun run? You’re VERY keen on those aren’t you?”
23) Considering possible police action when someone takes that spoon you always use.
24) Knowing that, deep down, your office crush is fuelled entirely by boredom.
25) The unbelievable amount of water that person consumes on a daily basis.
26) Mathematically working out that 38 minutes is the shortest allowable amount of time you can spend at the Christmas party.
27) Going to the toilet as a ‘treat’.
28) The mystery person from two desks over and four desks down who has been there since 1984 and no one knows who they are or what they do.
29) How someone else’s laughter is the worst sound in history.
30) Walking in, knowing ‘something’ has happened and not knowing what.
Seeing someone sobbing at their desk and there is no way you’re going to find out why.
31) The ‘my commute is worse than your commute’ arms race escalation.
32) Being sent a comical gif that you definitely first saw during the Tony Blair administration.
33) “Oh great. They bought a boat.”
34) How a single, ill-judged tank-top led to the dissolving of Casual Friday.
35) The helpless emotion suffered when the ‘friendly’ security guard suddenly acts with indifference towards you.
36) “Why are you emailing me? You sit THERE?”
37) The possibility of leaving an anonymous desk note if you see them heading to the toilet in their socks again.
38) That ‘joke’ you made in the meeting that made Sonia cry.
39) A complete stranger standing next to your desk and saying the word ‘yeah’ into a cell phone for about an hour.
40) Judging someone’s entire existence based on their choice of salad.
41) Googling ‘teacher’s starting salary’ and then getting depressed.
42) Knowing beyond doubt which particular desk is attracting the vermin and being aghast that they refuse to act.
43) That bloke with a family picture on his desktop that is definitely not his family.
44) How calling the IT helpdesk is more painful and challenging than natural childbirth.
45) I don’t care how many wristbands you’re wearing, I’m not asking you about that festival.
46) How the fact that you’re ‘not technically part of this team’ means you can opt out of tea rounds and how you’re willing to prove it in the International Court of Human Rights if necessary.
47) The worst seven words in the English language are ‘Can you just show him the basics?’
How the fact that you’re ‘not technically part of this team’ means you can opt out of tea rounds and how you’re willing to prove it in the International Court of Human Rights if necessary.
48) Buying a lottery ticket online after a particularly fraught email exchange.
49) Failing to recognise a colleague on the street as they’re not wearing their headphones.
50) Inexplicable ringtones.
51) The inadvertent snort-laugh that occurs when a particular person walks in with an unexpected yoga mat.
52) How the phrase ‘end of play’ reinforces the total pointlessness of your existence.
53) The person who you know makes the same amount of money as you and yet gets endless, exciting looking Amazon deliveries at work.
54) The inevitable festering birthday cakes that start to line up on filing cabinets because everyone is 'too polite' to finish them.
55) Just for a split second, considering some light identity theft as a colleague slowly reads out their credit card details.
56) Mentally criticising the way someone breathes.
57) Having your excuses all lined up just in case you’re caught using the disabled toilet.
58) Believing that particular lift has a personal grudge against you.
59) Staring at a tree out of the window and wondering if you could successfully climb it.
60) Watching someone change their shirt at their desk as if you’re viewing invasive hip surgery.
61) “There’s that smell again.”
62) How you’re thinking of having the words ‘Why are you telling me this?’ tattooed on your forehead to save time.
63) How witnessing the way someone eats an egg and cress bap questions every belief you’ve ever held.
64) Praying for that final person to leave the office so you can print out the first three chapters of that erotic mystery you’ve been working on.
65) “I can’t believe it’s [insert completely believable time] already!”
66) That one bloke who always stares at you.
67) Changing your password to something libellous about your line manager.