My company is in the process of consolidating office space in order to save on rent. This will involve moving employees off of certain floors and into unused space on other floors. One of the upshots is that a lot of folks are going to end up in a different type of space than they’re used to occupying. Specifically, some people who currently have window offices are going to end up in internal offices without windows. Some people (like me) who are currently in internal offices without windows are going to end up in “officles,” which are office-esque spaces, but are smaller, and don’t have doors. And some folks who are currently in officles are going to end up in cubicles.
As you might imagine, a lot of folks aren’t happy about having to move from their current workspace, especially since it involves moving into a less-desirable space for many folks. For me, it’ll be the first time in 14 years that I’ll have been without an office door. Not a huge deal, but it’s annoying because I have a fairly nice sound system in my office that I can listen to with the door closed, and because I have occasion to change clothes in my office fairly regularly.
So, I have two questions. First, tell me about your workspace. What is your “office” like? Do you have a room with a view? Are you in an internal space? A dungeon? A cubicle? A closet? An undivided open area? A classroom environment? A public-facing counter space? Do you work outdoors? In a home office?
Second, how much do you like the type of space you work in now? How unhappy would you be about moving into a less-desirable type of space? How much of a boost would you get from moving into a more-desirable space? What’s your ideal work environment?
Our company is going through something very similar. We are first moving from two full floors in a large office building to one floor, and sometime next year, what is left of our staff here will either be relocated to another city or terminated.
They are solving the space problem by doubling up. Everyone on our floor currently has a doored office with the only exception being the receptionist. After the move, we will each have a roommate. Roommates are not being assigned with an eye to keeping departmental staff together - which would have made some sense - but only with the matching of one’s status in mind. I will be sharing my space with the process engineering manager, with whom I have absolutely nothing in common professionally. He needs peace and quiet to plan and design. I’m the HR manager and have a constant stream of phone calls and people in and out of my office. If I have anything private to discuss with an employee, it will have to be done either in the main conference room, if it isn’t in use, or outside by the elevators. I’m not thrilled or amused.
An HR manager sharing an office? That is a bad idea.
My work-space is a cubicle with 5-foot high walls and an L-shaped work surface. I have always been in a cubicle since I became a programmer 28 years ago. I have worked at a couple of places that had low walled cubes and I much prefer the higher walls. I have gotten pretty good at tuning out the conversations and other sounds that go on around me.
My company has begun a move toward more open and less personal work spaces in its locations around the US. When the lease is up on our current building in 2018, I suspect we will move to a new office complex with much less privacy in my work area, if I have a work area to call my own at all. I am not looking forward to that.
They just converted our standard cubicle environment to… something that isn’t quite an open office, but basically the “walls” are only about 4 feet high so it’s incredibly noisy. They added a bunch of “huddle spaces” where people are supposed to get together for impromptu meetings and phone calls, but many people still make their loud phone calls from their desk and it’s highly unpleasant. Officially, it’s supposed to “foster collaboration” but in reality I’m pretty sure it’s just a way to pack more employees in the same space. My new area is probably less than half the size of my former cubicle.
I wear headphones about 75% of the time now as that’s the only way I can manage. Can you tell I don’t like it??
When I’m in office, I’m in a standard cubicle - 5’ high walls on three sides, window behind me. For a while, I worked in one of our community sites, which was trying a “new” office model. No assigned workspace, we had lockers for our belongings. The desks, all attached, had short partitions between them, all in a large open room with high ceilings.
The noise was hellacious.
I did my best to get there early to take one of the 10 offices, which lined the open room. It muted the sound, somewhat. Unfortunately, the walls between the offices were made of rice paper and you could hear every word from the offices next to you along with the sound from the floor. There was no winning.
I always had an office and starting in year two I always had a window. Of course once I worked from home it was different and in starting my distillery I had to share my office but there was still a door and window.
I’ve found having a window is really good for my phyche and in the brief times I haven’t had a window I feel more disconnected from the non working world.
I’m now back job hunting and I’m not looking forward to changing my working situation.
I’ve got the best workspace I’ve had in the over 30 years I’ve been it IT, it’s my spare bedroom. Everyone I work with directly are in different countries so there was no point consuming space in the local office. The only thing in my office provided by the company is the laptop. Everything else, docking station, 2x24 inch widescreens, adjustable sit/stand desk, etc are my own. The trend in offices here in the UK is fully open plan, and some places are fully hot-desked so you don’t have any space that you ‘own’. I’d be asking for at least a 50% pay increase to go into a job in an environment like that.
I think my current employer missed a great opportunity with me, but hey…
My office is a large one, shared with several other people. I’m staring at a white wall (in theory we can put up Stuff there, but in Spain we’re not used to doing that in what we perceive as “common area” - OTOH we miss the ability to do it with the computers, which we tend to perceive as “personal space”), with a floor-to-ceiling huge window to my left, overlooking a small parking and a cultivated forest. It’s the “incoming” office: most of the occupants are people who have just joined the company and who spend some time here while their permanent workspace gets set up. It also tends to have a lot of empty desks.
Every single office is shared, except for the office manager, the hardware guy and the local manager.
Given that only another one of the people in my team is physically here, that we’re doing IT support, and that the immense majority of training is online, they could have saved me the expense of having to move so I could be “in” the office I’ve done WFH from my house before, and I’ve got a ground floor room that I could have set up as a separate office space relatively easily.
My favorite work environments include things like the ability to move around and play music, preferably without a headset. I’ve been in shared offices that were great and in private ones that weren’t any good, because of other working conditions or the nature of the work.
My office is large, with windows overlooking an inlet of Puget Sound. There are eagles, seals, and blue herons to watch. The office is everything I could want, including meaningful art work and plenty of support staff nearby.
I can’t imagine at my age and point in my career moving to anything significantly less desirable, but if I did, I think I could adjust. Over the years I have had many different types of work spaces, (including a lot of nights working at a hotel desk) and if catastrophe struck, I suppose I’d try to make the best of it. If I ended up in a cubicle or windowless office at my age, I’d have worse problems than how much I liked my office. It would mean my firm has died and I’m now working for someone else to survive.
I’ve worked near a window since I was a TA in college around 1980. When I was first hired out of school, I had a desk in a big room, but it was smack up against a window. Then we got cubicles, and around 1990 I got a private office, and have had one ever since.
I think I would rathe have a cubicle near a window than an interior office. Right now I have a kinda crappy view, but I love the sunlight. Tho I have a door on my office, I rarely close it. Sometimes the rest of the office gets a little loud, but that doesn’t really bother me.
2 days a week I work from home. I think it makes a lot of sense to combine teleworking with shared offices.
We could be working together! Last year a big announcement that we were moving to a new (refurbished) campus about 10 miles away. The move was done in the fall. The new digs were advertised as “modern”, and include said impromptu meeting areas, which have hip-looking chairs and tables, and a couple have white boards. There is a large coffee bar.
We went from standard cubicles to a more “open” office environment - cubicles with low walls (4 ft?). People with offices still have offices. The problem with this “modern, open” design is the noise, lack of privacy, and all those “open spaces for impromptu collaboration” are right next to open desks so people are not using them (you’d literally be talking right behind someone’s back). The coffee bar sounds cool, but no one sits there since it is right next to people’s desks - we grab a cup of office coffee and go back to our cubby holes. Whatever. At least we can telecommute a day or two per week, and I am next to a window so I can see the outside world when I want.
My home office I can look past my computer screen when needed to the open space across the street and see turkeys, squirrels, and the weather. Close to ideal.
Ideally, I wish I would not have to sit in a cubicle all day and stare at a computer screen. We’re not meant to do that!
We just did this last fall–moved from a smallish building where everyone had their own office to a huge building where most of us work in open areas with walls that only go up about five feet around our individual desk spaces.
There was a great deal of protest and objection to it. A lot of people retired or quit just to avoid going to the new place. I seriously considered leaving too, but didn’t only because I doubted I’d be able to get another job that paid as well this late in my career and, if I did find something, it probably wouldn’t be any better to drive to.
The one thing that makes the new office bearable is that nearly everyone works from home one or two days a week now. So I only have to make the drive 2 or 3 days a week myself. On the days when I do go in, half the cubicles around me are empty and the place is pretty quiet. Wednesday is the most crowded day.
I have a proper office, maybe 12’x15’, with a view of a racecourse. It’s shared with two people, one of whom is only in 3 days a week.
I also have an office at home for when I work from there, it’s a 10’x10’ room, but it also doubles as my closet and art studio.
I like it a lot, but then, when I started here us devs used to essentially all work around one big boardroom table, so having actual offices is sheer luxury. And sharing is fine, even the CEO and MD share their offices.
Not much. I’d get a much bigger boost from having my own parking spot, quite frankly.
What we have no is more-or-less ideal for the kind of pair programming we end up doing a lot of.
Funny you should mention this; I’m in a shipping center (think UPS-ish) and we are going to be adding locations, moving some pallets around, and clearing out one lane so we can start direct delivery ourselves bypassing the USPS altogether. I am of mixed emotions because it means a week of hell retraining my brain to just where everything is and using these funky hard-to-read temporary labels. But it means we’re doing good and the whole overall project/experiment is advancing. Also out of like 20 sort centers we were picked as the best for beta-testing this whole idea which I take as somewhat of an honor.
I’m an adjunct instructor at two community colleges. At one, the adjunct office is a room with ten or twelve computers; I walk in and find an empty spot. At the other, the one I consider my main job, the adjunct area is a bunch of cubicles in the main office. There, I sign up for a cubicle each quarter, but it is shared by others over the course of the day.
This is the college I would like to eventually wind up at in a full time position, but… the full time instructors are in cubicles as well, at the other end of the office. That is the one aspect that would bum me out. At every other college I’ve attended or worked for, full-time instructors have actual offices.
I’m in an open 15’x11’ space adjacent to the offices of the company president and general manager. There’s a sort of half wall separating me from the path to their offices. The other three sides are walls and I have windows overlooking a native prairie area and a side door which is nice for the rare times I need to take a private cell phone call. The space is set up for two people but there’s only me here and that’s not changing any time soon. I also share it with a couple drafting tables and a large format printer.
Despite being next to the boss, it’s fairly private. There’s no line of sight from the president’s desk to my area and my own desk location is tucked back so I’m aware of people coming into the space before they actually see me. So there’s a feeling of it being “private” despite it being open. I like it and there’s not really a plausible scenario where I’d get moved or they’d significantly change it (there’s only seven of us in the office building).