A wall graphic at Hachette's new New York office. Image © Gensler
Hachette Book Group recently moved its New York office into an open-plan workspace, breaking with the publishing industry’s longstanding tradition of keeping a publisher’s individual imprints sequestered by physical boundaries like private offices and designated meeting spaces. Not surprisingly, the transition was met with trepidation. Employees expressed concern that Hachette’s divisions—from Little, Brown and Company to Grand Central Publishing—would not be able to maintain their autonomy within an open-plan workspace. Closed-office plans provide departments with spaces to call their own; open-office plans do not. With all employees stuck in a single unified space, would it be possible for Hachette’s unique imprints and brands to retain their individuality?