15 Comments

  1. I do like the guy in the middle who apparently has to climb over his cubicle wall to get to his desk.

  2. And because email can be managed at your time.

    The assumption is that lots of email messages are somehow bad and face to face interaction is neutral. That’s a pretty outdated and luddite assumption that doesn’t hold up under any scrutiny. As an environment sensitive and focused person I consider 78 email messages to be neutral but 78 face to face interactions and interruptions to be awful beyond all possible description.

  3. LOL, Downpuppy!

    One place I used to work had some very talented programmers from South Asia. I needed information from them, but had a lot of trouble understanding their English, especially on the phone. I settled into nearly always using internal email, even if they were close by.

  4. Back when I was a productive member of society, I always wanted people to email rather than call. That way there would be a record of what was said. Later Instant Messaging came in, and was somewhere in-between. You could save the conversation if you really wanted to.

  5. Some interesting stuff about office design and how it affects interaction is out there. The more open the office, the less people talk, it seems. In a previous job they took away our cubes and gave us teeny-tiny shelves to do all our work on. In another, we had little cubes but they weren’t assigned. You just had to try to find one. This was because there were more workers than desks. They figured this wasn’t a problem because we worked shifts. Problem is some desks were set up for people with medical ergonomic issues. If it was empty and you sat there, you weren’t allowed to adjust anything, which meant you’d cripple yourself. And if your shift started at 14:30 or 14:45, you were hooped because the first shift didn’t end until 15:00, so the desks were as full as they were going to be. And you had to keep all your stuff in a little tiny shoelocker sized thing. Your workspace says a lot about how much (or little) your employer values you.

    A straightforward article on the topic:
    https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20180718-open-offices-make-people-talk-less-and-email-more

    The more fancy one that your manager may listen to as you plead for them not to go to “hotdesking” or some other crime against humanity:
    https://hbr.org/2019/11/the-truth-about-open-offices

  6. Hotdesking will certainly become the norm post-Virus in companies where a percentage of employees will be working from home each day: why rent enough space for each of your 100 employees to have a desk, if only 50 will be in on any given day?

  7. @CIDUBill, except that people will fear hotdesking because of cross-contagion.

    I think “you don’t get to come into the office, ever, and in fact we won’t have offices” model will be pushed for a while, fail miserably, and we’ll go back to cubes, to be honest.

  8. I’ve made a comment to this effect several times in the last few months:

    “If you are just killing it, doing a great job and being really productive working at home (something you were never allowed to do before), you can be sure your bosses have noticed. Now they’re trying to figure out how to ship that job overseas since you’ve proven they don’t need someone in the office to do it.”

    That applies most strongly to people who do simpler work. Admin, accounting, payroll, tech support. Jobs that require more judgement and initiative are more resistant to moving, but not much. I work from my home, none of my colleagues are within 800 km of me and no two are in the same city. This works well for us and makes the business viable. Paying for office space ten people in London would be a huge financial drain on the company.

    Working at home, which I’ve been doing for more than two years, is great. Suits me just fine. I enjoy getting back the four hours a day that was wasted on commuting when I had my last cube job.

  9. Carl, I said post-Virus.

    This might even apply not-quite-post-Virus-but-close: weighing the rent savings against a slightly-increased possibility of illness.

  10. I never had a cubicle at work – always open space. In the first office I worked in at real job (other than working for my dad as a kid) I worked in the outer office with an employee of the same accountant I worked for, two employees of another accountant in the other office and the wife of the partner of my boss. No cubicles – maybe they weren’t invented yet?

    The office was then moved to an inner office and an outer office – my dad (this is different than earlier working for dad – I was an adult with an actual job) and I shared the inner office and the other employee worked in the outer office. Dad and I had desks next to each other. We then moved to another office – with the same setup.

    Dad died and had recently given notice on the office with no new office picked. The fellow who worked for us – he was in his 70s when I started working for my boss that he also worked for – had retired – so it was just me. The office came home to our house where it has remained. I share the office with Robert and we sit at our desks facing each other. (My work desk is now the desk my parents bought me to use for homework when I was in second grade and I still hit my knee on the same spot on the desk leg that I did back then – though I finally had the idea to pad the spot on the desk leg last year.

  11. Sorry, I was working from the reality that there won’t be a “post-virus” world. Even if a vaccine for this particular virus is developed, more pathogens will continue to appear. I just saw a Nature article about a potential new pandemic influenza being detected in China, literally yesterday.

  12. Carl, I would speculate that the next pandemic will be handled infinitely better, but political posts aren’t allowed here.

  13. My only comment on the future of office space is that I finally moved from a cube and was granted my own office after 13 years at my company… in February of this year. Didn’t get to enjoy that for too long. No complaints about working in a t-shirt at home, but I do miss my spiffy 3 monitor setup.

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