Some Apple Park Employees Said to Be Dissatisfied With Open Office Design

During a new episode of The Talk Show on Daring Fireball, John Gruber touched on the topic of the open floor plans that Apple has implemented within its new campus, Apple Park. Unlike office spaces at One Infinite Loop and other Apple-owned buildings -- which give most employees their own office -- Apple Park sports a large open floor plan with long tables for programmers, engineers, and other employees to work at.

Apple Park's open office spaces have been highlighted in numerous profiles on the campus, most recently by The Wall Street Journal in July, and now Gruber has reported that he's received emails from numerous Apple employees who are particularly dissatisfied with the design (via Silicon Valley Business Journal).

apple park standing desks

Standing desks within one of Apple Park's open offices

Judging from the private feedback I've gotten from some Apple employees, I'm 100% certain there's going to be some degree of attrition based on the open floor plans. Where good employees are going to choose to leave because they don't want to work there.

One source is said to have been with the company for 18 years. They emailed Gruber, telling him that they're working on something that is "going to blow people's minds when we ship," but before that happens their team is transitioning to Apple Park. Gruber noted that the email was very level-headed and had a "perfect Apple sensibility," but the source nevertheless said that if they don't like the Apple Park workspaces, they're likely to leave the company after the product ships.

Gruber said he got a "couple of similar emails," with employees stating that they won't outright quit before they move to Apple Park, but if it's as bad as they think it's going to be then they will consider leaving Apple. During the podcast, Gruber and special guest Glenn Fleishman pointed out numerous disadvantages to an open work space, particularly for coders and programmers who aren't used to a lot of foot traffic and noise in their vicinity while they work.

Gruber went on to mention Apple vice president Johny Srouji as one of the employees dissatisfied with the Apple Park office spaces. Srouji was allegedly so against the changes that Apple "built his team their own building" outside of the main spaceship building.

"I heard that when floor plans were announced, that there was some meeting with [Apple Vice President] Johny Srouji's team,” said Gruber. “He's in charge of Apple's silicon, the A10, the A11, all of their custom silicon. Obviously a very successful group at Apple, and a large and growing one with a lot on their shoulders.”

Gruber continued, “When he [Srouji] was shown the floor plans, he was more or less just 'F--- that, f--- you, f--- this, this is bulls---.' And they built his team their own building, off to the side on the campus … My understanding is that that building was built because Srouji was like, 'F--— this, my team isn't working like this.’”

The idea that open work spaces at Apple Park could potentially "irk" employees goes back to some of the original profiles on the building. Last year, Bloomberg explained that there will be "few traditional offices" at Apple Park, and management will have to be at a vice president level or above to get their own formal office space, although there is reportedly potential for employees below this level to be eligible. During the company's presentations to the Cupertino city council, Apple's viewpoint indicated an open floor plan is "conducive to collaboration between teams."

In other Apple Park news, some Snapchat users have recently noticed that a handful of construction workers and visitors at the campus have been taking enough snaps to accumulate into a Snapchat Story of its own. If you're on the app, you can search "Apple Park" from the main screen to find the Story. The new "Snap Map" also shows an increase in picture-taking activity at Apple Park.

apple park snapchat
Apple Park opened to the first round of employees over the summer, and the campus will eventually house close to 12,000 workers. Over the past few years, drone footage has consistently documented construction on the site, originally referred to as Apple Campus 2, with more recent updates focusing on the advancements made to the area's landscaping and the Steve Jobs Theater.

Top Rated Comments

zorinlynx Avatar
58 months ago
I don't understand this push towards open floor plan offices.

Software development and engineering are highly focused activities. You get "in the zone" and work on your problem to find a solution. You might have several things going on in your head at once that all have to be there to figure out the problem.

Having people walking by, interrupting you and otherwise hassling you when you're in "the zone" can set you back quite a bit. At least for software developers and engineers, open floor plans are a horrible idea. At the very least have cube walls that come up high enough to give you a more quiet space.

I personally have an "office" with walls that don't go up to the ceiling, such that I can hear things going on outside even though when the door is shut, no one can see me. And even with that, stuff going on outside my office can distract me and throw off my train of thought. It must be horrible for workers in true open plan offices.
Score: 134 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Appleaker Avatar
58 months ago
"It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." - STEVE JOBS
I’m not surprised, the whole ‘open and collaborative work space’ stuff can go to far, and it’s become a joke. They should be building it around employee needs.
Score: 89 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mjfutures Avatar
58 months ago
I'm with this guy... 'F--- that, f--- you, f--- this, this is bulls---.'
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
autrefois Avatar
58 months ago
Forcing something new on people who don't want it just because Apple thinks it's better for them even when people say they don't want it? Definitely sounds like something Apple would do unfortunately.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Reason077 Avatar
58 months ago
Welcome to the real world, pampered Apple employees! That office space looks pretty luxurious (and spacious!) compared to many I've worked in. For most of us, the days of private offices - or even cubicles - are long gone.

In any case, it's Apple we're talking about here. There'll be no shortage of qualified candidates lining up to take their jobs if they can't handle such hardships!
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brian3uk Avatar
58 months ago
I have to agree with the open office hate. If coworkers were considerate then it might not be a big issue but they rarely are. Some folks are more immune to ambient office noise and just assume everyone else is too. They talk too loud, hit their keyboards too hard, eat lunch at their desk, chew gum loudly, cough, sneeze, click their pens, and so much more. You don't notice just how noisy other people are until you're surrounded all day long.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole 16x9 120hz

Analyst: All iPhone 14 Models to Feature 120Hz Displays, 6GB of RAM, and More

Friday January 14, 2022 7:02 am PST by
Apple is rumored to announce four new iPhone 14 models in September, and ahead of time, analyst Jeff Pu has outlined his expectations for the devices. In a research note with Haitong International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Pu claimed that all iPhone 14 models will feature ProMotion displays, compared to only Pro models currently. ProMotion enables a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz ...
ios 15

Apple Releases Minor iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1 Updates

Wednesday January 12, 2022 10:05 am PST by
Apple today released minor 15.2.1 updates for iPhone and iPad users, and the software comes one month after Apple launched iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2 with a slew of improvements. The iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1 update can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General >...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With LG's 32-Inch UltraFine OLED Pro Display

Wednesday January 12, 2022 1:12 pm PST by
LG in December announced the launch of its new 2022 32-inch UltraFine OLED Pro display, and in our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with it to see how it compares to Apple's Pro Display XDR and whether it might be worth picking up depending on the price point. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Officially named the "32BP95E," the display features a resolution of ...
iPad Pro Big Ol Logo Orange

Next iPad Pro Might Feature Large Glass Apple Logo to Allow Wireless Charging

Friday January 14, 2022 10:44 am PST by
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu last year reported that Apple had tested a new iPad Pro with a glass back for wireless charging capabilities. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said he expects the new iPad Pro to be released in 2022. While the new iPad Pro is still on track to feature wireless charging, 9to5Mac's Filipe Espósito today reported that Apple may have ultimately...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole

iPhone 14 Pro Now Rumored to Feature Both Pill-Shaped and Circular Cutouts

Wednesday January 12, 2022 9:26 am PST by
Apple is widely expected to remove the notch on iPhone 14 Pro models, but there have been conflicting rumors about the new design. Early rumors suggested that Apple would adopt a hole-punch design with Face ID somehow moved completely under the display, and later it was rumored that there would be a pill-shaped cutout instead. Now, display industry consultant Ross Young has claimed that...
fortnite apple logo geforce feature

Fortnite Coming Back to iOS Soon Thanks to Nvidia's GeForce NOW Service

Thursday January 13, 2022 11:19 am PST by
With the Apple vs. Epic Games lawsuit continuing on, there are no signs that Apple has any intention of allowing popular battle royale game Fortnite to return to the App Store on iPhone and iPad. Epic Games has found a workaround though, by partnering up with Nvidia. GeForce NOW, Nvidia's streaming gaming service, will soon add Fortnite support, allowing Fortnite to be played through a...
iMac 27 inch 2020 sale

Deals: Apple's 21.5-Inch iMac Hits Record Low Price of $599.99 ($499 Off) [Update: Out of Stock]

Thursday January 13, 2022 4:05 am PST by
Amazon today has a great deal on the 2017 Intel 21.5-inch iMac (2.3GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD), priced at $599.99, down from $1,099.00. This is the best price we've ever tracked on this model, and it's only available at Amazon. The sale price will be reflected after an automatic coupon is applied at checkout. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...