Every now and then I have to explain why I like working remote, why I don't like offices, and why I hate open offices in particular.
I'm an introvert at heart. I can be social, I do like hanging out with people, and I get restless and depressed if I'm alone at home for a week or two. But I have to manage my extroversion -- make sure I allocate sufficient time to quiet, introverted activities. Reading books, single-player games, hacking on side projects, etc.
To do great work, I need laser-like focus. I need multi-hour uninterrupted blocks of time. Many engineers feel the same way - see Paul Graham's oft-cited "Maker's Schedule" essay.
Open offices are the worst possible fucking environment for me.
Loud noises at random intervals make me jump out of my skin - and I don't even have PTSD or anything. I need loud music delivered via headphones to get around the noise inherent to open offices.
Constant movement in my peripheral vision is a major distraction. I often have to double-check to see if someone is trying to talk to me because of the aforementioned headphones. I message people on Slack to see if they have time to chat, but plenty of people think random shoulder-taps are great.
Privacy is important to me. People looking over my shoulder at what I'm doing makes me itch. I feel like people are judging me in real-time based on my ugly, unfinished work. Even if they're talking to someone else, I get paranoid and want to know if they're looking.
If you follow Reddit, Hacker News, or any tech or programming related forums, you'll see hate-ons for open offices pop up every month or two. Here's a summary.
PeopleWare: Productive Projects and Teams (3rd Edition) (originally published: 1987)
Nathan Marz: The inexplicable rise of open floor plans in tech companies (creator of Apache Storm) [Hacker News thread]