Office Spaces and Productivity
September 5, 2012
If I never again have to share a communal restroom with
people who think taking phone calls, or even conference calls, while using the toilet is ok;
people who have trouble hygienically using toilets and then clearing up the evidence afterwards;
people who think that the bathroom – in or out of the toilet stalls – are the best places to hold gossip sessions;
I would consider myself a lucky lucky person.
If I never have to listen to pompous asshattery being repeated outside my physical vicinity but yet loudly enough to be heard, in Groundhog Day-esque fashion, on every matter under the sun including politics, religion, sex lives, how one really should fix that particular problem no really this is the undisputed way, oh I’m so very meta I was just being meta at you and you didn’t even know it, and personal discussions with family, friends and significant others, I might think I’d died and gone to my reward.
A graphic shared with me on the pain of the responsible, stuck working with the uncommunicative and the unproductive:
If I never ever had to go to another Team Meeting again ……
— A variety of people on why they changed careers or what kills them about their jobs.
These are the verses to the tune of People are Hell, I think.
I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by the commonality, and frequency of, the restroom related complaints since I have expressed at least one or two of them myself. I was tempted to add one or two myself but refrained lest any of my esteemed colleagues ever recognize themselves here. Heaven forfend.
They made me laugh a bit, not quite schadenfreude since the complaints aren’t unfamiliar in the slightest, but I suppose it’s the reason The Office is funny, right? Bit of horror, bit of comedy, bit of drama.
I read a recent study, which I can’t find now to link to, on open plan offices and how they’re not quite the ideal workplace layout once envisioned. People work with headphones to shut out their neighbors more often than not and they’re actually more stressful for people in general because you can’t control the ambient noise if people are randomly striking up conversations. The lack of privacy means that generally people will hesitate to discuss more delicate issues around their work areas and will have to find a private space to do so.
So many businesses, including most of my recent employers, have invested in just this sort of open plan arrangement while reserving the private spaces only for those at the very top and I don’t see them backing away from it as the human/intellectual-potential cost isn’t enough for them to make any real physical or policy adjustments.
For my part, I’ve always worked in busy, bustling environments and became very accustomed to ignoring people, so completely zoning out and creating my mental bubble without help is no hardship, at least until the conversational frequencies hit Shrill or Panic. If it does either one of those things, chances are good I should be tuning back in anyway.
Oddly enough, if I’m working at home, hobbying or real working, I don’t actually like the television or radio to be on – that is more likely to be distracting than real live people. For all that I mock the dog for leaving the room when videos are playing, I guess we’re more alike than not.
Do you like working where you work or do you wish for a totally different environment?