Shirobako and depressing office spaces

shiro2Shirobako is becoming one of the most boring entries of the Fall season and therefore also a perfect metaphor for the depressing office space. For a creative industry such as anime, the office spaces portrayed in Shirobako seem awfully depressing and demoralizing. I’ve seen another video a while back where Danny Choo visited J.C. Staff, which was also equally disturbing. The place looked gloomy and disorganized. Perhaps there was a certain logical order in the chaos, but nonetheless it didn’t look really inspiring. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review they wrote many companies are shifting towards a more creative and open office space, where there is a fine mix between open and private areas. This stimulates more interaction between colleagues and while some departments lost on productivity, others gained more, benefiting overall productivity. I’m not sure if it fits the culture of the Japanese working spirit and pure focus is a must, even if it is not always possible. Given, space is limited in places such as Tokyo. But it feels like a more open and more colorful working space would stimulate interaction between employees and in the long run deliver even better anime productions. Being hurled up in your own department creates a feel of disconnection with the rest of the company and being stuffed between two or more walls within a small cubicle seems more like a way to destroy dignity before joining the big league. I do not propagate an open door policy, as I’ve witnessed first hand, making working hard at times as everybody just barged in and ruined concentration. Yet, having the feeling you can move around or have a space for yourself to emerge yourself in work, seems a better alternative to the gray office space witnessed in Shirobako.

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