Employees Are Already Complaining About Apple Park’s ‘Open Layout’

The ongoing development of its sprawling new Cupertino, California headquarters, Apple Park, has been covered intermittently in recent Apple news cycles. From the facility’s official grand-opening announcement back in February, to the weekly 4K drone flyovers documenting its progress, we’ve learned quite a bit about Apple Park over the years — and it hasn’t even opened to the public yet. We’ve even seen inside the property’s $5 billion spaceship structure, catching glimpses of Apple’s unique open layout design that was covered in a recent op-ed from The Wall Street Journal. At its core, the WSJ piece lauded Apple Park’s design in the respect that it brings Steve Jobs’ vision of a unified office space that’s “conducive to collaboration between teams” to life.

Unlike traditional offices, which tend to be walled- or sectioned-off, Apple Park’s massive, 2.8 million square-foot ring structure has been designed as a large, open space featuring minimal closed offices, while offering plenty of long tables for programmers, engineers, and other employees to work at and engage with their colleagues collaboratively. It seems like an innovative twist on the typical work environment, but according to Daring Fireball editor, John Gruber, not all Apple employees are satisfied with Apple’s new open layout.

“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,” Gruber said, noting that he’s received “a couple of emails” from Apple employees who’ve indicated that while they have no intention of outright quitting before they transition to Apple Park, if the building’s design is really as bad as they think it’s going to be, they’ll definitely consider leaving Apple.

Gruber went on to mention the case of Johnny Srouji, one of Apple’s vice presidents of SoC engineering, who allegedly expressed such bitter opposition to Apple’s open layout that the company agreed to “build his team their own building” on property but not attached to the main structure.

“I heard that when floor plans were announced, that there was some meeting with [Apple Vice President] Johny Srouji’s team. 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 recounted, while adding that “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.’”

While it may seem innovative and forward-thinking to Apple’s design team, clearly the open layout of Apple Park is becoming an increasingly hot-button issue among some employees — and will likely persist to be, as more and more of the expected 12,000 full-time staff migrate to Apple Park from the company’s current 1 Infinite Loop headquarters.

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