This memo from WIRED editor-in-chief Scott Dadich about the new office space they’re moving into reads like Mystery Science Theater 3000’s “A Date With Your Family”.
We made a big investment in the construction and design of the new floor — more than $3 million over 10 years — to create a home worthy of our ambitions and a place that’s fun to come to in the morning.
By “fun” I mean “neat, orderly and full of a thousand of you monkeys typing silently on a thousand keyboards late into the night.”
There are zones to work together, and quiet spots for focused work.
See if you can guess which ones are which! Chances are, your coworkers can’t!
There are drawers for personal items…
Like your hopes and dreams.
…and tons of storage for our materials and technologies.
Please make sure to lock away the technology you’re writing about. God knows we don’t want our desks littered with technology. Ew.
Unfortunately, too often the place where we do that important work looks, at best, like a dorm room.
We want you to spend more hours here than you do at home, but don’t treat it like your home. What’s wrong with you?
It’s an embarrassment: coffee stains on walls (and countertops and desks), overflowing compost bins, abandoned drafts of stories and layouts (full of highly confidential content), day-old, half-eaten food, and, yes, I’m going to say it, action figures. Please.
Remember when I talked about a place that’s fun to come to in the morning? God, it seems like it was so long ago.
WIRED is no longer a pirate ship. It’s the home of world-changing journalism.
It’s the West Coast home of Condé Nast. And it’s increasingly a place where we, and our New York colleagues and owners, host artists, founders, CEOs, and advertisers.
I want to schmooze these people so they’ll invite me to their parties and you idiots acting like teenagers isn’t helping.
We all treasure our photos of loved ones.
[clumsily holds up frame with stock photo of someone else’s family and smiles/grimaces]
Mementos of personal accomplishment.
Man, if I worked at WIRED the first thing I’d do in that new space would be to cover my desk with my junior high bowling trophies.
I encourage you to proudly display a few small items at your desk because our workspace reflects who we are.
I’m assuming you’re all soulless automatons like me. Is that not correct? Oh, dear.
But how we treat our workplace is a manifestation of how seriously we take our work.
That’s a crock of shit. The hardest workers I’ve ever known have always had the messiest desks. Those two things don’t have to be linked, but saying the opposite is true is either a lie intended to squeeze an extra few minutes of clean-up time out of your already overworked employees or a fundamental misunderstanding of who works for you.
When we stop caring for our shared spaces, we demonstrate a lack of respect for the space and for each other.
When we try to get employees to work in pristine, spotless environments, we demonstrate a pathological desire to control every aspect of their very being like the anal retentive martinets we are.
If there are DVDs or books you need to do your job, please do make use of them. But make sure the items you don’t need make their way off of horizontal surfaces and into the appropriate recycling or refuse containers at the end of the day, or simply take them home.
Shred them and build a nest with them for all I care. Just as long as I don’t have to see it. I’m trying to get invited to Elon Musk’s house, not yours.
I love your custom-made/vintage/neon sign/one-of-a-kind lighting appliance.
I really don’t.
But it’s not right for the design of this new space.
Neither is any vestige of your personality. My personality is as spartan as a Danish furniture catalog, why can’t yours be the same?
We went to great expense to purchase elevated laptop stands and monitor arms for all desks.
Because you people are weak from having come from poor genetic stock.
…Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner is infamous for walking through the office handing out demerits and tongue lashings to people with messy desks strewn with half-eaten food, towers of music, and stacks of assorted crap. Martha Stewart once issued edicts about the three types of approved writing instruments allowed at the Omnimedia studios. I’m not going to do any of that…
Some fucking HR thing. Such bullshit.
…although my OCD can sometimes get the best of me — because I’m confident you’ll understand exactly what I’m saying here and clean it up, not just for me but for all of us.
Of course, I’m the one who’s forcing you to do it, so… yeah, it’s really for me.
Ugh. I feel like a newsroom can be an environment that benefits from an open floor plan, but this level of exacting control over it is exactly what’s wrong with corporate America. If you’re so concerned about coffee stains, hire someone to clean things up. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper and it sends a better message than spending $3 million to make a 2001: A Space Odyssey set for your employees to spend their days maintaining.