Pod People

The company I work for is moving a lot of people around. My department is moving to a new building, across the street.

I’m happy about the new building. It has 2 parking lots which wont require crossing the dangerous street we’re on.

The problem is that some wonderful corporate planner type has decided that the customer service people need to be in pods of 4. So, we get to spend 9 hours a day listening to not only our own phone but the phones of our 3 pod-mates. There are 3 pods in the row. We’re all separated by half walls. So, technically, we’ll have 12 people talking on the phone all day and 3 faxes ringing all day. The desks are also set up so that 2 of my pod mates will be behind my back. I really hate having people behind me. I startle easily so I try to maintain good line of sight on all the people around me. With the exception of one person in my pod, none of the other 10 people even work on the same products I do. We’re all used to having our own cubicles so this is going to take some major adjusting for all of us.

So, what I want to know is does anyone else work in a pod? Is it hard to get used to? Do you like it? Is the noise from your pod-mates annoying? Do you find that people in pods gossip more or less? Is there anything I can do to prepare myself for this?

Get rear-view mirrors for your monitor so people can’t sneak up on you.

I work in a pod now, and it kind of sucks, but you do get used to it. There are four of us here in one office. Overall, it’s not bad because we do interact well, but occasionally the conversation will get distracting. Which is when iPod comes in handy. Heh. I don’t know how much phone work you’re doing, but if you do have long periods where you’re not on the phone, I definitely recommend an MP3 player or internet radio. Low-level music does wonders to block out the world and perpetuate the illusion of privacy. Plus, if you have a really talkative or annoying person nearby you can seal them out or feign deafness. :wink:

The only times I’m really aware of how much pod seating sucks is when a) someone has something stinky for lunch, which is rare, but it does happen (we don’t have a company lunchroom, so we all eat at our desks most of the time) and b) when I have to make or receive a private call. In that situation I just go to one of the unused conference rooms and call from there, but it is inconvenient that I can’t just pick up the phone. Also, I feel kind of self-conscious when my husband calls, because while we’re not talking about anything embarassing, it’s still more than I feel comfortable subjecting my coworkers to.

It sucks, but you’ll adapt faster than you think you will.

I had actually been thinking of that. My mom had the same problem and she had round convex mirrors all over her walls. That’s a good idea. Thanks.

No advice is necessary. Resistance is futile. You will assimilate.

We got podded here a couple years ago. I was able to convince the relevant people that a full wall between my neighboring pod would behoove all concerned. It’s now just a smaller version of a cube.

Headphones if you have 'em and can wear 'em are definitely a plus. My next door pod mate loves her one CD. And by one I mean ONE. She has one CD that has been playing for the last 2 years. My iPod and headphones have been a sanity saver in that aspect.

Trumpy, you can do magic!

I only have a couple of things to add:

Gosspi / Chatty Level goes, way, way up, even if you try REALLY hard to stay out of it.

Also, if you’re not getting along or there’s someone not nice in the pod it’s uncomfortable because you can’t get away from each other and you’re talking to other people in the pod but maybe not to each other.

This was in my previous job where we had one girl flat out tell us she came in every morning to see who she could pick a fight with and who she could piss off.

I’ve talked to 2 of my 3 pod-mates. We’ve all decided that the seating arrangement sucks. The 3 of us decided that if we can’t move the desks to a more comfortable position for everyone, we’ll use either plants or decorative folding screens to separate the 2 in the front from the 2 in the back. I’m in the front with the only person who works with me and the two in the back work together so it would work out well if we used screens. We all get along pretty well so I am not worried about fighting. Now the pod next to us, 3 of them hate the 4th. That should be fun to sit next to :smiley:

Once we get the seating fixed, the only problem left is music. Since we spend a lot of time on the phone, headphones are out. I’m just worried that being in such close quarters will limit the music we can all listen to. I listen to Launch all day long (when I’m not being disconnected). I don’t want to disturb the others but I need the music. I also tend to sing when I’m working. I know they wouldn’t like that :stuck_out_tongue:

I think that seating arrangements will be the biggest issue for all 3 pods. The pod to the left of us seems to be filled with people who like each other. The one to the right is going to be filled with tension.

Even though I’m confident that we’ll work it out so everyone’s happy, I’m still not that thrilled about the whole idea.

I’ve got my big over the ear headphones that I use as speakers at work (I really need to buy the regular speakers). If I’m listening to audiobooks, I hook up my earpud headphones and just have one in my ear so I can hear it, not disturb others, and answer the phone as necessary. Otherwise, maybe a rotating schedule for the four of you for a central radio if they all like music? (and better yet if you all like the same music)

After awhile, you’ll get used to most of it. I’m almost accustomed to my neighbor’s breakfast crunchings of pork rinds at 8:30 am. Shudder.