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Open Office: Your Fart is My Problem

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MWagner_MA
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CEO
Glimpse of sanity in a mad...mad..world
MWagner_MA   1/28/2015 7:45:24 AM
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Thank you Jack for saying what needed to be said.  My first experience with this insanity was working for a Danaher company, one of my worst office environment experiences as an engineer.  I could hear 10 different conversations going on at once - not very conducive to those of us who can't listen to music while working to drown out the noise (ie. headphones).  I need a quiet space.  We have conference rooms if you want to gather a group to hash out stuff together, or for larger companies, go the cafeteria.

softdev1
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Rookie
It bears repeating until managers get it
softdev1   1/28/2015 10:36:19 AM
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Bravo Jack!

This subject has been studied, discussed, and explained many times before but those that manage engineering departments just don't seem to get it.  At one time I thought it was my problem just being over-sensitive to distraction and that I needed to "get over it".  I've come to realize there are many more like myself that just aren't productive in a distractive environment.

I'm in a work area that often requires me to drown out group discussions, conference calls, cell phone calls, and various other distractions with headphones.  The perpetrators likely have no idea how they're impacting others working around them.  My company has been considering a re-layout of the engineering office area for some time.  I hope to convey the idea of establishing two 'work zones'.  One area for those that frequently collaborate and are happy working in a noisy environment, and a second quiet area where those trying to concentrate can do so without distraction.  Employees would then be allowed to choose which work zone is most preferable to them.

_hm
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CEO
Employ white noise
_hm   1/28/2015 6:22:03 PM
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White is popular in this open office concept. With this, it is really difficult to listen to what other are talking about.

 

_hm
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CEO
Two is company and three is crowd
_hm   1/28/2015 6:24:22 PM
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Having two persons is good. Not much disturbance but good company.

Three and more is crowd and may not be that productive.

 

MWagner_MA
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CEO
Re: It bears repeating until managers get it
MWagner_MA   1/29/2015 7:29:59 AM
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Softdev1, I would be interested in hearing if you actually can accomplish that feat at your job and how many engineers are involved.  The other grouping design I have advocated for but was unsucessfull, is grouping by discipline rather than by product.  We EE's need to talk to each other , as do the ME's and the software engineers.  We naturally seek out other expertise when needed, but all the EE's within one company need to share notes.  Strengtht in numbers..

dt_hayden
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CEO
why not extend them to management and executives?
dt_hayden   1/29/2015 9:53:07 AM
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If these office models are so great, why not extend them to management and executives?

I amazes me the conditions management thinks are fine for "workers" but not acceptable for themselves.  It reminds me of a small company I worked at in inland San Diego, where the summers reach over 100 deg F.  The company was building out additional space in the building it owned, and management actually had a long discussion on whether or not to air condition the engineering offices and lab, which were to be located in the new space.   In the end, they elected to air condition the space.   Unfortunately our production workers were not so lucky and ensured working in that heat with giant fans blowing the heat around, all while under the watchful eye of the manufacturing manager who sat in a large air conditioned office with picture window into the manufacturing floor.

betajet
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CEO
Re: why not extend them to management and executives?
betajet   1/29/2015 10:10:10 AM
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dt_hayden wrote: If these office models are so great, why not extend them to management and executives?

Obviously nothing has changed since Metropolis (1927) and Modern Times (1936).

mhrackin
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CEO
Forward link!
mhrackin   1/29/2015 11:20:48 AM
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I work for a major telcom giant.   Our top management has decided to do two things to "improve productiity" by facilitating face-to-face communications.  One I agree with in principle: consolidation of several hundred scattered locations into 15 major ones.  The other: expanding open-office concept EVERYWHERE.  Our particular operation just got a new top gun; after meeting him and discussing his feelings on this (he was put in place to implement the new policy), I sent him a link to this blog!  I encourage evryone to do the same.

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