Are You Treating Your Employees Worse Than Zoo Animals?

A few years ago, I visited an amusement park in Utah, and was horrified when I rode through their animal park and saw large animals in cages with no shade and cement floors. There was little to no “play” equipment for the animals and certainly nothing was like their natural habitat. Had these animals had a choice of where to live, surely they would have chosen just about anything else other than this set up.

Then, this morning I read this article, Are Open Plan Offices Inhumane? and I thought about those poor animals in their little cubicles-uh, cages. Kate O’Hara talks about the lofty goals of these open office floor plans as follows:

As with any “progressive” notion, the idea of the “open plan” office had lofty goals. Lowering cubicle walls or eliminating personal workspaces entirely, it was meant to foster communication, collaboration and teamwork. As a bonus, it saved floor space, money and allowed bosses — often sequestered in glass-walled offices around the perimeter — to keep a constant eye on employees.

To keep reading, click here: Are You Treating Your Employees Worse Than Zoo Animals?

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8 thoughts on “Are You Treating Your Employees Worse Than Zoo Animals?

    1. Hi GD! I see you in other places on the web and I like the cozy feeling it brings. Cozy, and Awkward, and Haxian. 🙂

      I agree with you that open offices weren’t designed specifically in order to be inhumane… but since bad zoos often cite expenses as the reason they can’t house their animals better, I think it’s an apt comparison.

      This bit is more generally responding to EHRL: in one of the best-designed places I worked, people got doors OR windows, but not both. Cube-dwellers got the nice big windows for natural light, which makes such a difference, and people with doors they could close were in the core of the building. Plus the 2nd floor had doors out onto balconies for some quick fresh air (and no, nobody used them for smoke breaks). It was practically humane.

    2. “No. It was designed to reduce operating costs, period.”

      I agree the gold digger, but they got to sell it somehow. ‘A spoonfull of sugar… ‘ and all that

      But then you get those people who start believing their own hype.

      1. I saw that I was not clear. That last sentence was in reference to:

        “Lowering cubicle walls or eliminating personal workspaces entirely, it was meant to foster communication, collaboration and teamwork.”

        There are people out there who absolutely and sincerely believe in the open plan office for those reasons, and not necessarly for the money factor.

        Otherwise why do some places bother to remodel at all? I know several places that did away with private offices and cubicles, (in favor of an open office plan) when it was far cheaper to keep things how they were.

        Gotta keep up with the times you know.

  1. Could not agree with this more. It was absolutely insane to me that in my last job as a Manager in HR with 6 direct reports, I had to fight to time-share an office. I’m not a naturally quiet person anyway–the last thing I wanted was for anyone to overhear me when I was having a heart to heart with one of my employees. Never mind all the HR conversations that NO ONE should overhear!

  2. This comparison is both hilarious and sad. Fun, because workplaces can sometimes turn into real zoos, from various points of view. Sad, because managers forget about how important privacy can be for their employees. The solution, in this case, can be quite simple. The management should visit several zoos before ignoring the need for privacy of their employees.

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