Open Office Environment Should Be Like ‘Library’, Not ‘Cafeteria’
That’s all I wanted to say, nothing more really.
I’m not going to argue whether an open office is better or not. Because it’s not my job to convince the decision-makers of a company whether they should keep an open-office environment or switch to cubicles.
Maybe they find it useful because people can communicate easily. There is room for better collaboration, work on collective creativity, etc. I’m ok with all of this. You want to keep an open office? Fine, no problem at all.
But the thing is, we, the people who are working in this open office environment, sometimes fail to realize the value of ‘concentration’ and ‘focused work’.
We ignore the fact that a soft chatter from a corner of the room can distract someone. Someone can lose focus on their deep thoughts about solving a complex problem.
A mind train can lose its track from going to a better place to end up in the wrong town. We make noises, shout out loud, laugh out loud, our cellphones buzz — just like in a cafeteria.
Why is that?
I believe it’s definitely possible to work in a noisy environment. But, as a software developer, my distracted mind can’t hold the large context of the problem I’m solving and the tricky corner cases that I should handle in my code.
Also, my frequently distracted mind might need to work on a feature for several hours, where it could’ve taken much less if I could’ve focused properly.
I know using a noise-canceling headphone might help me in this situation. But isn’t it suggesting a solution without addressing the actual problem? What if I say that I can’t read an article or write code while listening to songs?
Another solution could be grabbing my laptop and moving to a quiet room or corner of the office where I can gain my focus. Still, it’s not a good solution. If I need to move somewhere else to do the ‘work’, then what purpose is the ‘workplace’ serving?
So, what do we do about it?
Did you see a library? A lot of people sit very close and do their job at a certain time. Still, the environment is quiet and so peaceful.
Can you, the same person who makes noise all the time at your workplace, do the same at a library? Do you keep your cell phone on silent mode in a library?
I think we need to decide to maintain the same environment in our workplace. It’s not that hard.
All we need to do is address that the noises we make might disturb co-workers. It forces someone to lose their concentration from important work.
Do you need to discuss things with team members? Keep it less loud or use a meeting room. Do you need to chit-chat and have a break? Use the cafeteria or another place. Just don’t make the workplace noisy. That’s all I’m saying.
I know some might not agree with me. They might not feel the same about it. But that’s okay. I’m just sharing how I feel about it.
That’s all for now.
Have a productive day!