I have been working at home for over 8 years, sharing an office with my wife for most of that time. I like working at home, though I do notice that if my wife is gone for a few days, I go a little stir crazy being completely by myself. It’s almost “too quiet” for me and I end up sometimes going to a Starbucks to work, just to have some ambient noise.
This week I’m in the UK, visiting with my group at Red Gate Software. Typically I spend a few days in a conference room with my group and then a day or two in the office. Today is an office day, and it’s amazing just how busy and crowded the Red Gate spaces have become.
You can see the Red Gate building here, two wings, with the upper two floors being completely Red Gate space. When I came last year, the quadrant where my group is located was fairly empty. Now it’s quite full, with most desks in use.
Most of the space is busy, and the lunch service from the in house cafeteria is very busy. It was so busy I forgot to get a picture before eating, being slightly worried about getting my own food and finding a seat. I went back near the end of lunch and snapped this one:
The SQL Servery, as it’s known, was just getting going before, but now it’s in full swing, with the menu’s posted, and lots of choices. Yesterday I had a lamb ragout and today was a spicy pasta vegetarian dish instead of the bangers and mash (shudder). Juices of all sorts are around, along with the most important piece of technology in the office:
I have made liberal use of this machine in the two days I’ve been in the office. The food is mostly healthy, which is good to see. At first I was a little put off that the only sodas in the office are in a vending machine, requiring all sorts of strange UK coins, but on this visit I’ve rarely had a soda all week and it’s been fine. I think if I had a company these days I’d consider providing healthy snacks and drinks for free and letting people buy the unhealthy stuff if they want.
My “mini-me” is still there, which is cool. I thought this was one of the coolest pieces of art produced by the Red Gate designers. When I first saw it, I thought it was great. There are a few other walls that are decorated with various paintings and drawings.
The office is bright and airy, and surprisingly quiet given all the people there.
But there’s lots of them, more than I’m used to, so it’s a bit strange to walk around to get water or coffee and dodge people. Usually I’m just dodging a dog or two.
One other very interesting thing is the memory wall. A long wall, with some cork sections, and some metal sections, where people post photos from company events and various press articles. It seems there are regular Red Gate events (which I rarely get to) that build bonds and help keep the company close together. I need to send something over to place up there.
I’m not much of a foosball player, but I see games going on regularly in the lower lobby area. There is a ping pong table, and it makes me think I need to get mine set up in the basement back at the ranch.
Not much work getting done this week, but it’s a good trip and good to see so many of the people I correspond with on a regular basis and others I’ve known for years.