Nowadays, everybody knows what an Open Space is and if you are working in tech you probably already worked (and still) in such office. I have several experiences in workplaces having used different types of office myself. I never had my word to say about the workplace but I’m constantly arguing about the workplace/environment. Here is some thought about my vision of the open space.
First, I’d like to say that Open Space is really a nice concept! Being able to be in the same room with the whole team you are working on is a great experience and it really helps with the new trends of agile and DevOps. Open Space generate lots of communication and exchanges. This is a great enhancer for new collaboration between team members.
But … well … most of the time Open Space is the opportunity for companies to decrease their need of space. In an open space, you can place many more people than in individual offices. What manager and accountant view is a good saving in the company accommodations.
… I’m not sure it’s a good calculation …
My desk is in an open space … and I just hate it ! when I need to focus on some task, my first action is to look for a free meeting room or plan a way to make some home office. This to be sure I’ll not be disturbed by noise, comings and goings, questions, and anything else that can happen in an open space. Of course because my company chose the open space to save money, they usually drop meeting room for more open space … so there is no way for getting a meeting room for my work and I mostly accomplish my work at my desk … in the open space. The result is that I usually put headphones on and try to hide myself behind my screens. And most of the peoples are doing the same. That definitely kill the collaboration enhancer of the open space ! But still, all the interruptions still occur and a 20-minute task still took 1h to accomplish. Why ?
- Being in an open space is the physical presentation of my company identification number. I am seat number 8 of the space number 3;
- I’m constantly disturbed by both useful and annoying interactions;
- I’m working with music, which is sometimes nice, but mainly disturbing;
- I disturb my colleague with my noise and my questions;
- I don’t feel comfortable in my workplace.
All of this just make me feel like I’m not productive. And the hard thing is that even if I do produce valuable work, I always face the truth that I would have done better or much more in a good work environment. This feeling is really disturbing and I still don’t know how to deal with … The worst is when I do read management and personal organization books or articles and it appears that I’m not alone in this case and company still prefer immediate saving instead of increasing work performance of their employee.
I want to add that I really don’t care of having a foosball, a ping-pong table, a colorful desk or a professional masseuse if I first don’t have a decent office desk and the appropriate material I need for my everyday work.