Workplace Advantage is, apparently, a new restructing being done at Microsoft to rearrange seating. Instead of pushing everyone into a private office (not that people will complain) they're giving teams the tools they need to rearrange their areas as they see fit.
Joel points out that, while a lot of programmers want to work outside offices and in cubicle-land, they're not actually more productive that way. Almost invariably programmers are more productive in private offices. I can believe that.
For my game studio I've been thinking about doing exactly what Microsoft appears to be doing - allow people to set up their work space as they want. Office, cubicle, common area, your choice. I suspect Joel is right that programmers will be less productive if they're in a common area, but games are a creative medium, not simply an implementation deal, and I think it might end up worthwhile. I do want to require that all new hires start out in the common area for a few months just to get them up to speed and integrated into the team a little better. And I'll be staying in the common area so I'm more available, and to help dispel the "office == seniority and rank" belief.
I might lose some productivity, but I think I'll make it up in creativity. I'm willing to be wrong on this though. I might end up shoving people into offices eventually if I decide it's not working.
I think it's pretty amusing, though, that MS is now doing something I came up with independently a few months ago.