March 22, 2012, 10:57 AM —
Everyone together makes collaboration easier, but does that make up for the distractions?
Not according to Matt Rogish, who says plainly that "Open Plan Offices Must Die!" Too often, companies place long tables in the middle of the room and put all their programmers together. Rogish asks why companies, new and old, "take high-pay, high-skilled, super-smart programmers and cram them into giant rooms full of noise and distraction?" It's as if companies want to be sure no programmer ever gets into "the zone" and creates quality work.
Jim Showalter addressed the same problem two years ago in "Open Cubicles Must Die." He quoted a 1987 book explaining why productive projects fail, in part because of how a bad office environment kills productivity. Beancounters reduce the amount of personal space per programmer to the point there is no privacy. Beans saved, but production drops. Execs like these plans, because they are people oriented and want to talk, while programmers need quiet and focus. But some programmers feel collaboration makes for a better result.
Need my privacy
I'm currently in an open plan where conversations are the norm. Multiple people talking loudly, sometimes for an hour or two -- without regard for others.
Joe Roberts on mattrogish.com
There was one period of time where I was in a noisy room with continual distractions and it was a living hell.
fthinker on mattrogish.com
And they've never invented (to my knowledge) smell-canceling headphones. I've worked in places where it was an issue. And it's a very difficult one to address. "Please be quieter" is much more socially acceptable than "Please use deodorant".
hartex on news.ycombinator.com
Need to collaborate
At my last job, I had an office with a door that closed, as did most developers. That really didn't help our collaboration at all and the work place suffered as a result. I now work in an open work space and love it.
Open Space on mattrogish.com
we had closed-in "mini-office" cubicles with walls nearly touching the ceilings. The environment was very quiet. It stifled collaboration.
Crias on jimshowalter.blogspot.com
I think young programmers like the open collaborative spaces because in college that's all they had. You're right in saying that we haven't worked in offices before.
Bryant Chou on jimshowalter.blogspot.com
What do you prefer, a single or shared work space? Tell us below.