Call us crazy, but there are times when we watch our favorite shows and think, “that office could’ve really used some panel extenders.”
It’s not that we’re truly concerned about the productivity and focus of the characters themselves, but more so our preoccupation with proper office design and the manifold benefits of panel extenders that go beyond the basics.
That’s not to say that cubicles don’t interest us … we’re more than aware of them when we watch the king of all workplace movies, Office Space.
However, we’re in the business of offering an easy-to-use, effective alternative to cubicles that provides the sound and sight privacy your team needs to excel while still feeling part of a work community.
In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of three famous Hollywood workplaces that either used panel extenders well or definitely could have used them.
The Office: A Tale of Two Styles
Americans across the country were left both joyful and distraught when the nine-season run of The Office came to a close.
Many of us felt like we were a part of the Dunder Mifflin team, working right alongside Dwight, Jim, Pam and the gang.
But did you ever consider how their office layout actually reflects real office life?
Take Jim and Dwight, for example. The two co-workers were constantly immersed in a battle to annoy and distract each other. Their mischief was made easy by the fact that their desks were perpendicular to each other and no barriers existed in between them.
We find this interesting if, for nothing else, the fact that both Jim and Dwight were salesmen and sales calls should be afforded a certain amount of sound privacy. The solution: panel extenders.
The lack of panel extenders goes beyond just Jim and Dwight, though. The other section of salesmen included three desks with no privacy panels or panel extenders.
What results is a chaotic work environment that makes for great TV but for poor productivity.
What’s interesting, though, is that there is a glass partition/panel that separates two of the three desks in accounting. Famed accountants Angela and Kevin have sound privacy because of the panel but they lack visual privacy.
This is a sensible solution for accounting because of the subject matter being discussed in that department – accounts, invoices, etc.
But, Oscar, the third accountant in the bunch whose desk sits perpendicular to both Angela and Kevin, has absolutely no sound or visual privacy.
Obviously, The Office’s workplace layout had just as much to do with opening up the space for camera work – the more barriers, the poorer the lines of sight. However, we think it accurately reflects how many offices handle privacy.
Halt and Catch Fire: As Open as Open Offices Can Be
This AMC drama focused on the rise of personal computing and the internet. The show is anchored in the rise of a startup named Mutiny. According to the fictional account, the company launched wildly popular video games, was crucial in the emergence of online gaming and is responsible for the popularity of chat rooms and Craigslist/Letgo-style online transactions.
Their offices were based in San Francisco in a cavernous brick building with a completely open floor plan. No panel extenders. No cubicles. Just dozens of computer terminals dotted on desk clumps.
The scene in Mutiny’s offices was often chaotic. Coders were hammering away at keyboards, answering phone calls and shouting across the room to their colleagues.
These scenes reveal what we consider the biggest downfall of open offices: lack of privacy. The brain needs a certain level of security to provide maximum focus and production. Mutiny, like any number of modern startups, lacked both.
The solution could’ve been simple: panel extenders. Installation takes about five minutes and doesn’t impede workflow; nobody has to leave their desk and wires and cables don’t have to be unplugged.
From Hollywood to Your Office: Simple Privacy Solutions
OBEX panel extenders provide a simple, effective solution for audio and visual distractions that plague the workplace.
You can learn more about the products we offer by heading to the Products section of our website, where we feature panels and extenders that attach to existing desks or cubicle walls as well as modesty panels.