Open plan offices



  • What do you think of them? I've never worked in one, but don't think I'd like them. However, after spending the last 15 years in my own office, last week I got a builder to knock down the wall between my office and a colleague's, so I now have some company in our new, extra large office (we're planning on adding a third person very soon). I think three is a perfect number to share an office with - it's quiet, but not too quiet. I got too lonely in my own office, but sharing an office with 30 people would just be too noisy for me.

    This thread is inspired by this ultimate $300,000 open plan office desk:
    http://laughingsquid.com/the-barbarian-groups-endless-superdesk-seats-all-125-employees-at-their-new-manhattan-office/

    What a monstrosity!

    My boss is dead keen on the whole company going open plan. He thinks it will aid collaboration. The evidence suggests it won't. See here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/may/03/this-column-change-your-life-open-plan-offices

    I'm hoping my building work will satisfy him, and when the rest of the company goes open-plan, the three of us will be be left alone in our mini-open-plan office. That's my plan anyway.

    Any views on open plan versus private offices.



  • I'd say invest in a good pair of noise canceling headphones, even if you aren't listening to music it will substantially reduce the background noise.



  • That place looks more like a lounge than an office! Talk about no privacy either.



  • @Dashrender said:

    I'd say invest in a good pair of noise canceling headphones,

    If people wear headphones it kind of defeats the whole purpose of having open plan offices.



  • As someone who has an open office that I share with one person. There are times it's awesome other times it sucks. Cross talk when on the phone with clients etc. is pretty annoying and distracting. If you have an office where phone conversations aren't the norm it might work... but quiet is just needed from time to time.



  • Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.



  • Rackspace's Castle is open and it is super near to look at and horrible to work at. Too much noise and mayhem.

    I like private offices with loads of open areas for ad hoc work. A mix is best. Everyone needs to collaborate but everyone needs quiet time to focus too.



  • It's like trying to work in the middle of a cocktail party.



  • @Nic said:

    Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.

    That's one of the reasons I left my last job. I'd be trying to bang out some detailed project work and have Nerf darts whizzing by. Cubes are better, but I prefer an office. Some of my best work happens when I'm in an office with low background noise and no windows.



  • Joel Spolsky has some good articles on it as well: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/07/30.html



  • @Nic said:

    It's like trying to work in the middle of a cocktail party.

    AKA like working with SAM and PSX.



  • I worked in an open desk area when I worked both at Goodwill and for a local MSP. I hated it. It's especially bad when you have to work with others who do not appreciate keeping their work area's organized and clutter free.



  • @alexntg said:

    @Nic said:

    Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.

    That's one of the reasons I left my last job. I'd be trying to bang out some detailed project work and have Nerf darts whizzing by. Cubes are better, but I prefer an office. Some of my best work happens when I'm in an office with low background noise and no windows.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with Nerf wars, when appropriate though.



  • @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Nic said:

    Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.

    That's one of the reasons I left my last job. I'd be trying to bang out some detailed project work and have Nerf darts whizzing by. Cubes are better, but I prefer an office. Some of my best work happens when I'm in an office with low background noise and no windows.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with Nerf wars, when appropriate though.

    That depends on your personality.



  • Part of an open plan office is that everyone must get along. You always have personality issues in the work place. Have an open plan office and you really learn more about each other.



  • @alexntg said:

    @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Nic said:

    Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.

    That's one of the reasons I left my last job. I'd be trying to bang out some detailed project work and have Nerf darts whizzing by. Cubes are better, but I prefer an office. Some of my best work happens when I'm in an office with low background noise and no windows.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with Nerf wars, when appropriate though.

    That depends on your personality.

    Agreed.



  • I work from home. My office is quite open since we are in the dining room (my desk is against the wall and my wife's is to the left of me facing the other wall), which opens up to the kitchen and the family room. I like working from home when its early in the morning and everyone is sleeping. Later in the day, kids come in and hang out, my wife's friends come over and the talk talk talk and the music, and the TV it can become too much. Looking for a better set of headphones and cord extension.



  • @alexntg said:

    @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Nic said:

    Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.

    That's one of the reasons I left my last job. I'd be trying to bang out some detailed project work and have Nerf darts whizzing by. Cubes are better, but I prefer an office. Some of my best work happens when I'm in an office with low background noise and no windows.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with Nerf wars, when appropriate though.

    That depends on your personality.

    Did no one give you a Nerf gun, sending you into a deep depression and anger ?? 😉



  • i used to work at a company where their help desk was setup in a noc style where all 6 help desk personnel were sitting side by side in a rounded off U shape. It sucked, when i wanted to listed to music i couldn't, when i needed some quite time because of a migraine that was setting in there was none of that. I had all of 4 linear feet of desk space with dual monitors, so in reality i had no desk space to myself. It was an interesting environment when people starting to disagree with how others were handling given situations.



  • @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Nic said:

    Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.

    That's one of the reasons I left my last job. I'd be trying to bang out some detailed project work and have Nerf darts whizzing by. Cubes are better, but I prefer an office. Some of my best work happens when I'm in an office with low background noise and no windows.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with Nerf wars, when appropriate though.

    That depends on your personality.

    Did no one give you a Nerf gun, sending you into a deep depression and anger ?? 😉

    only when you are trying to work with a customer on the phone and you are the target of the nerf ambush. Apparently this was their test to see if you could keep it together regardless of your surroundings.



  • I'm in a small two person office today but my office mate just brought in a nerf sword and has been throwing it around.



  • I get on better than I expected with open plan. Still frustrating some times though, I would give anything to be able to shut off and say no interruptions, but it's impossible.



  • @Minion-Queen said:

    Part of an open plan office is that everyone must get along.

    Indeed. The biggest problem I have is temperature. I like a cold office, preferably with the window open to let in fresh air. Most people, I've found, like a hot office, so in the winter, with the windows closed, and the heating on full, it is like working in a sauna. Certain women like to come to work in the winter in just a skimpy blouse then complain that they're cold. If you're cold then put on a jumper, don't turn the heating up! In these conditions, I find it difficult to stay awake and alert. It's also a breeding ground for cold and flu germs, not to mention being terrible for the environment.

    I also have an issue with people who work in a mess and have those furry animals stuck to their monitors and post-it notes stuck everywhere. This may be more of an issue with my own mild OCD tendencies than a weakness of others though.

    /rant



  • @Carnival-Boy that's very British of you - preferring open air and cooler temps. I'm the same way as is @Dominica but the US attitude is that all buildings should be sealed and all air circulated. It is horrible.



  • @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Nic said:

    Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.

    That's one of the reasons I left my last job. I'd be trying to bang out some detailed project work and have Nerf darts whizzing by. Cubes are better, but I prefer an office. Some of my best work happens when I'm in an office with low background noise and no windows.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with Nerf wars, when appropriate though.

    That depends on your personality.

    Did no one give you a Nerf gun, sending you into a deep depression and anger ?? 😉

    I could have brought one in if I chose. I'm the type that comes to work to work, not to mess around.



  • @technobabble said:

    I work from home. My office is quite open since we are in the dining room (my desk is against the wall and my wife's is to the left of me facing the other wall), which opens up to the kitchen and the family room. I like working from home when its early in the morning and everyone is sleeping. Later in the day, kids come in and hang out, my wife's friends come over and the talk talk talk and the music, and the TV it can become too much. Looking for a better set of headphones and cord extension.

    If you are going to seriously work from home, you will need your own office space. Working from home does not mean you are "home" you are working, just not in the office.
    I set up a room in the basement myself. When the kids were still babies, I had my office in the extra room off the living room, but once they were mobile I moved to the basement.
    If you do not have a spare room, I would suggest moving your office to the bedroom as that typically has a door.so daytime the bedroom is "office" and nighttime it is bedroom again.



  • @JaredBusch I have considered that, however there is no room in that room!

    Old Florida house with no basement, mostly open floor plan. I keep looking into a way to "box" in my area to create office space. However if my son moves out (he's making plans), then I get his room! I have considered getting a shed with an a/c unit and bam...outside office!



  • @alexntg said:

    @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Nic said:

    Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.

    That's one of the reasons I left my last job. I'd be trying to bang out some detailed project work and have Nerf darts whizzing by. Cubes are better, but I prefer an office. Some of my best work happens when I'm in an office with low background noise and no windows.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with Nerf wars, when appropriate though.

    That depends on your personality.

    Did no one give you a Nerf gun, sending you into a deep depression and anger ?? 😉

    I could have brought one in if I chose. I'm the type that comes to work to work, not to mess around.

    Why did that just make me think of The Shining?

    "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."



  • @JaredBusch said:

    I would suggest moving your office to the bedroom

    Convenient for mid-afternoon naps as well.

    Seriously, I spend 8 hours a night in my bedroom, I couldn't spend another 8 hours a day in there. It would be like being in prison.

    I don't get to work from home, sadly. But if I did, I think I'd try and work in as many different locations as I could - the library, Starbucks, the garden shed, the beach....



  • @david.wiese said:

    @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Bill-Kindle said:

    @alexntg said:

    @Nic said:

    Open plans suck, especially for introverts. I couldn't stand it so I had them make me a real cube.

    That's one of the reasons I left my last job. I'd be trying to bang out some detailed project work and have Nerf darts whizzing by. Cubes are better, but I prefer an office. Some of my best work happens when I'm in an office with low background noise and no windows.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with Nerf wars, when appropriate though.

    That depends on your personality.

    Did no one give you a Nerf gun, sending you into a deep depression and anger ?? 😉

    only when you are trying to work with a customer on the phone and you are the target of the nerf ambush. Apparently this was their test to see if you could keep it together regardless of your surroundings.

    Well then they were being jerks then. That's why I said "When appropriate.".


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