Our new, modern Tribeca office was beautifully airy, and yet remarkably oppressive. Nothing was private. On the first day, I took my seat at the table assigned to our creative department, next to a nice woman who I suspect was an air horn in a former life. All day, there was constant shuffling, yelling, and laughing, along with loud music piped through a PA system. As an excessive water drinker, I feared my co-workers were tallying my frequent bathroom trips. At day’s end, I bid adieu to the 12 pairs of eyes I felt judging my 5:04 p.m. departure time. I beelined to the Beats store to purchase their best noise-cancelling headphones in an unmistakably visible neon blue.The most horrific part of that is "loud music." Later:
If employers want to make the open-office model work, they have to take measures to improve work efficiency... And please, let’s eliminate the music that blankets our workspaces. Metallica at 3 p.m. isn’t always compatible with meeting a 4 p.m. deadline.Jeez. Any music interferes with the kind of thinking you need to do to write. Of course, hearing other people talking is bad too, and the right kind of music can be used to exclude voices. Ten years ago, I worked hard on putting together a music-for-reading playlist. I've deployed Brian Eno many times — even to work in my office (which is not impervious to the sound of people talking in hallways and other offices).
Kaufman ends with "companies could simply join another trend — allowing employees to work from home," and that's my preference for most of the work I do. You can get deeply attached to quiet if you have access to it and learn how much it helps. When you're reading and writing, there's no music at all that's better than silence.