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The New Office


The New Office

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Steve Jones
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I didn't show it, but there are over a dozen conference rooms, ranging from small (10x10 or similar size) to larger, 50-80 person rooms. You could schedule time in there to work if needed.

People also work flex schedules, so I'm sure you could work off hours to get some more separation.

I do agree that open environments can be hard, but they can be very collaborative. I think you want to get your culture right to match employees. If you got changed to or from an open environment, it might bother you. If you started in one, you might be OK.

as an aside, here's my current setup.

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Steve,

the new office looks really nice. I applaud the artistic aspect. For me, however, I would need a private space to run to to get work done. Having an open concept works until the noise level gets too great to concentrate.

I have a private office with a door and I wouldn't want it any other way.
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skjoldtc (2/11/2009)
I have a private office with a door and I wouldn't want it any other way.


Oh what I'd give for an office with a door. Or a holocaust cloak. w00t

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As for all those conference rooms...

If my job was such that I used a laptop exclusively and went pretty much paperless then I can see how migrating to a conference room would be easy enough. However I believe most gritty technical jobs are not laptop centric and generally they are accompanied by pre meditated workspace configurations. To regularly give up that optimized workspace for privacy or migrate that workspace to a conference room on an as needed basis to me is not an efficient use of time and highly impractical.

The gentleman who has dual monitors is a perfect example. If a person with this setup needs some heads down uninterrupted crunch time the office structure does not support this. The employee stays put because of the optimized workspace and is constantly distracted. The alternative is the employee moves to a conference room and either dismantles and reassembles a workstation in the conference room or they choose to take a laptop and sacrifice the efficiency gains the desktop environment gives them. I know I can't see 100 lines of code on my laptops screen no matter what I set the resolution to.

If I am a PM and constantly in meetings anyway this setup works for my job type because I am essentially a mobile worker anyway. The office is moot except for the desire to have face to face interaction.
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The day I got a office with a door was the day my productivity rose, code quality improved and overall happiness increased. Open floor plans are for classrooms, not developers.
Steve Jones
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They're for some developers. I know plenty of developers that have done well sharing space with 1, 2, or more others in an open environment. I've had developers that wanted lights off, and those that would work outside.

You have to do what works best for you. Personally I would rather be in an open environment and have good headphones Smile

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Steve Jones - Editor (2/11/2009)
They're for some developers. I know plenty of developers that have done well sharing space with 1, 2, or more others in an open environment. I've had developers that wanted lights off, and those that would work outside.

You have to do what works best for you. Personally I would rather be in an open environment and have good headphones Smile


Best environment I've had was when I spent a few months squirreled away in the server room. Back then it was an odd room stuff with 3 racked servers (with an amazing 42GB of DASD) and about 40 glorified P133's.

I would close the door, and the ambient sound from all those fans would drown out the howling, laughter, crying, yelling, and such. Yes, this was dot com boom times. Oh, and I would on occasion shut off the lights. The waste light from all of the equipment would keep it functional for me. I have never figured out why people need so much light to operate. Must be people just aren't comfortable enough in their surroundings.

Now I'm in the "respectable" financial world. Very rigid, no variation in workspaces. Lights are on all the time. Sit in a formal cell, etc. It was 6 years ago that ties became optional, 3 years ago we got them to allow for headphones in IT. Still verboten outside of technology.

Work outside? Sounds great, but I know I would seek the first opportunity and bolt. People have commented, "You should go walk to X for lunch, it's beautiful outside." If I walked outside, I wouldn't come back in.

Anyone remember Wink Martendale in that old music video (cant remember the song or group), he's dressed up like some neo-nazi in a bus, slamming his gloved fist into his hand while repeating over and over "No Rock n Roll".... I get that impression of management.

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The culture definitely matters more than the physical arrangement, but I like open spaces more than closed. No clausterphobia or anything like that, I just like to be able to look up and see something that's significantly further away than my screen.

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