Pros and cons of a new work environment

I have recently moved into my own office for the first time, after some minor reshuffling of our floor of the building. I am adapting to my new environment and discovering the pros and cons of (relative) isolation.

On the plus side, it’s nice to have more dedicated space to store my testing book collection and also to have a small meeting space without the need to book a meeting room. The option to close the door to indicate “do not disturb” makes conference calls easier and also serves as a vehicle to block out time for uninterrupted thought – this already seems to be translating into more frequent blog posts as well as more reading.

On the downside, there is a feeling of isolation that comes from no longer overhearing team conversations (these are often a way of spotting misunderstandings or blockages needing to be resolved). The most annoying thing so far, however, is the light sensor that insists on turning the office lights off after around fifteen minutes when it doesn’t detect movement – say when I’m sitting typing behind my large monitor…! While the resulting arm-waving it necessitates might be good exercise (and is no doubt mirth inducing for those on the office floor), it is incredibly frustrating. I was convinced that turning off fluoros and then turning them back on again was wasteful of electricity (and hence supporting my idea to request the light sensor be bypassed the next time the electrician visits the office), but it seems that it’s an urban myth, as per this Mythbusters episode.

While cleaning out office before moving in, a pile of books had been left behind by the previous occupier, most of which were eagerly snapped up once their recycling demise was advertised. I took the opportunity to grab one for myself as I remembered hearing good reports about it, as a result of which I’m now about halfway through the excellent Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister. By a weird coincidence, much of what I’ve read so far is about providing intellect-based workers with quiet, spacious surroundings in which to do their best work!

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4 thoughts on “Pros and cons of a new work environment

  1. Stephen Janaway

    Peopleware is a great book. Although it’s aged a bit in parts, so much of it is still really relevant and useful. I wish I had an office btw – so much better for thinking in than a big, open plan space.

    Reply
  2. Kim Engel

    I recently switched from an office to open plan and I couldn’t handle all the noise at first, had to work with headphones on to avoid distractions. But overall I much prefer open plan, as long as there are some small unbookable meetings rooms nearby with phones.

    Reply

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