I prefer the open office as does Jason Fried ay 37Signals. However, my office is loud and noisy - customers and coworkers can just walk in anytime and distract me from what I am focused on - which is generally Ok, I mean it is a good thing to have customers visiting you these days.
I honestly don't even get one hour of peace and quiet in a normal 8-10 hour day because of all the distractions. In this kind of environment should it really be a surprise when I've screwed something up? I'm surprised it does not happen more often.
Here's what Jason has to say about working at work:
Refocusing after a distraction is tough, I am constantly asking myself, "Now, what was I doing again?" I often get sidetracked and drawn away from what I had planned to do that day. It's seriously a miracle that I even manage to get anything done.
I've learned to adapt over the years, a simple list of To Do's works great. When I get distracted I just go back to the list to see where I left off. When an issue comes up I ask, "Does this need my immediate attention? Or, can I put it on my To Do list and get to it later?"
One thing I haven't thought much about is designing my office space so that it is more conducive to working. Jason has set a superb example for me with the new 37Signals office in Chicago. The office is open, yet the environment is quiet like a library. There are specific rooms where employees can go to talk, the walls are felt, and there are cool sound-proof phone booths so you can actually have a personal call without everyone listening in on what you are saying or trying to talk to you when you are one the phone - last I checked, carrying on two conversations at once is nearly impossible.
Check out the office:
I think and write about leadership.
Search this site: