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It’s Not Just You, Your Office is Shrinking

The tyranny of open office plans means less space per worker.

Photo by Flickr user John.

Capitalism has found a way to make your 9-to-5 office job even more miserable than it already is. According to CoreNet Global, an organization of corporate real estate and workplace professionals, American office spaces have shrunk drastically in the past two years. In 2010, the average American office worker had 225 square feet all to themselves. By 2012, that number was reduced to 176 square feet. That stifling sensation you’re feeling every time you walk into the office is very, very real.

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image via (cc) flickr user omargurnah

In a move sure to do wonders for the emotional well-being of office workers around the world, tech giant Hitachi has developed a line of wearable mood monitors designed to track and tabulate overall workplace happiness. Were I wearing one of their devices, I would grin from ear to ear and say that it’s a great idea to help improve office morale. But, since I’m not, I can say with a scowl that this feels like something right out of a creepy Office Space/”Brave New World” crossover fever-dream.

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The Anti-Sitting Movement Brings You a Chairless Work Office

These designers offer an alternative to the hegemonic desk-and-chair workplace designs.

The crusade against chair-based lifestyles gained steam in 2011, when doomsday headlines declared sitting a “lethal activity.” Today, the anti-sitting agenda of medical researchers, lifestyle experts, and masochists has made significant gains and spurred efforts to redesign our entire lives so that we may never have to sit again. One group of designers has heralded “the end of sitting” with their redesign of the modern workplace. Amsterdam-based design studio RAAAF paired with artist Barbara Visser to construct a prototype of a chairless office at the Looiersgracht 60 Gallery in Amsterdam. Their vision eschews cubicles, desks, and chairs in favor of sloped surfaces and angled structures that workers are expected to lean against or lie on for support.

“In our society almost the entirety of our surroundings have been designed for sitting, while evidence from medical research suggests that too much sitting has adverse health effects,” the designers said. “The installation’s various affordances solicit visitors to explore different standing positions in an experimental work landscape.”

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