Is today’s office environment really conducive to getting work done in the most effective manner? Most of the Information Technology professionals of today grew up in a cubicle, or even a bullpen. In the old days, you would come in to work, hang up your jacket, sit down and start writing code (or doing whatever it was you did). If you needed to meet with coworkers to discuss a project you booked a conference room, closed the door, and talked. When you were done, you returned to your cubicle and quietly began working again.
Nowadays, that is almost unheard of. In large, worldwide organizations, many of the people you need to talk to are scattered across the globe! Instead of working quietly at your desk or moving to a conference room to chat, we are spending large quantities of time in our cubicles on conference calls with people all over the world. Even when office etiquette is followed and headsets are in use, four people on different phone calls within three feet of each other can be a little distracting. Have cubicle farms become an ineffective working environment in the reality of today’s Information Technology business?
Ok, a problem has been identified. Any solutions? Give everybody an office with a door? I seriously doubt it.
An option is to work from home. This has worked out well for some companies depending on the roles of the workers, the office dynamics, and the nature of the business. Some have made successful transitions to a full-time work from home environment, while others will contest that creativity and collaboration suffer when all communications are conducted electronically.
Another option is working from home on a part time basis. Working from a home office can be very productive if you need quiet time, if you know you will be on calls where background noise will be disturbing, or when you might actually be the one generating the background noise. On days when meetings with other local employees are scheduled and a higher level of creativity or collaboration are expected, come into the office and get some face time.
Maybe Don Adams had it right in the late 60’s… just ask for the Cone of Silence.