Thoughtful Thursday: Workspace
February 16, 2012
I have now officially started my new job. When I arrived, the boss immediately apologized because my office is nowhere near everyone else’s. My team includes two bosses, who each have their own offices with windows, and a woman who directs a subsection of the team. Then there are 4 underlings who all work in one huge room at one big long L-shaped desk that takes up two walls of the huge room. Then there are various people who come in sometimes and sit at the L-shaped desk or at a conference table. And then there’s me. I am neither a boss nor an underling. My work requires more concentration and quiet than the underlings’, so the bosses wanted me to have my own office. But, there was no room in the team’s space, so they found me an office on the other side of the building, which has a few (very quiet!) people who work on different teams, several people who appear to have an office assigned but spend all of their time somewhere else, and many creepily uninhabited rooms. Hence the apology.
Personally I am more than happy not to sit at a big group desk — I try to work well with others, but I do not want to be chatting all day, nor do I want to listen to country music while I work (WTF?). It’s a little annoying when I need something not to be able to catch a boss when they happen to be walking by, and instead have to send an email and wait several hours for a reply. The two minutes it takes me to walk from my office to the team’s space is a good ergonomic break from sitting, so that part doesn’t bother me. There are no windows, but I don’t expect windows as a non-boss, particularly if I’m getting a solo office — a few years ago when given the choice between a dark tiny solo office and a huge beautiful shared office with wall-to-wall windows on a high floor overlooking the entire city, I jumped at the dark tiny solo office. Having my own office is by far my preference, but my new office is so large that one or two other people may join me in the future. Who knows how that will go.
Over the years I have had officemates who became dear friends, officemates that remained strangers, and officemates that became enemies. I have shared space with people I adored and people I couldn’t stand. I’ve had coworkers who helped me accomplish my best work and those who made my work much harder. I’ve been with people who wouldn’t shut up, people who chatted to a pleasant extent, and people who basically never spoke to me.
If you asked all of my past officemates, they’d collectively probably put me into almost all of the above categories.
What kind of workspace would you want to have, if it were up to you?