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Letters: Office space, unwanted gifts

Marketplace Staff Dec 22, 2010
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Letters: Office space, unwanted gifts

Marketplace Staff Dec 22, 2010
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Kai Ryssdal: It’s Wednesday, that means it’s your turn.

Our story on the ever-shrinking office cubicle and the shift to more collaborative work spaces generated some comments from you. Seems a lot of people like being able to see and talk freely with their coworkers whenever they want.

Cheryl Scott of Dallas, Texas, though… not a fan.

Cheryl Scott: The lack of cubicles with the little bit of privacy they offer may be fine for younger workers that have very simple, uncomplicated lives, but as you gain spouses and children and aging parents and possibly medical conditions, that little bit of privacy offers you a little bit of dignity with your coworkers.

Christina West of Silverthorne, Colo. wonders why most workers even need to go to an office. She thinks we ought to get to choose. “I trust my employees,” she writes, “that they’re working. And we collaborate by Skype and we save the planet by not commuting.”

This being the season for the buying of presents, a Freakonomics segment on our Freakonomics Radio segment this past week was about “deadweight loss,” that’s kind of a fancy way to say “gifts you don’t really want.”

Melanie Wadkins of Oxford, Miss., says she’s totally behind asking for what you want. She wrote, “Gifts I receive that I don’t want or don’t need go straight to charity. In fact, I often wish the giver had given straight to charity themselves. I’ve already got enough clutter in my life,” she says.

Joel Rittle of Richmond, Ind. though decided to do something else: Hold an experiment with his office holiday gift exchange.

Joel Rittle: After our party, I sent an anonymous survey to the participants. 22 of the 27 responded, and indicated that based solely on the gifts’ values, we lost nearly 15 percent. When the entertainment value was added, we gained 25.

So there you have it. Even homemade fruitcake or tacky reindeer sweaters have value — under the right conditions.

We always value what you have to say. Send us your comments, suggestions, worst office gift stories, whatever you like.

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