Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

A lot of the comments here seem to focus on socialization and feeling like you're in a community, but closed offices don't preclude this.

I work at Wildbit (the company referenced in the article), and we have family-style lunches around a big table and plenty of common areas where socialization happens in the mornings, during lunch, when people make coffee, and plenty of other times.

The key is that when folks are working, they can do so in their office and stay focused. It's a balance of the two. Quiet space when folks need to focus and social space for other times. Having private offices and half the team working remotely doesn't affect socialization. We just tend to have better separation between the two so that they don't blur into each other or impact others who are trying to stay focused.

People seem to assume that the solution to lack of socialization is forced socialization. Hey, employees don't talk enough? I know, let's make sure they hear each other all the time!

Personally, I strive for balanced contact. I love locking myself in a corner to get something done, but once I'm done, I actually have the desire and the energy to socialize. Differently from when I'm actually forcibly socializing while trying to work.

"People seem to assume that the key to lack of socialization is forced socialization. Hey, employees don't talk enough? I know, let's make sure they hear each other all the time!"

It's exactly the same when the big shots think there is not enough innovation. Let's just hang up a few banners "We are innovative" or run some off-hours, unpaid "hackathons" while shortening deadlines even more.

I have participated in several hackdays and we were encouraged to work on something relevant to the business. I thought that smelled bad so I always made a deliberate effort to do something as opposite of the day to day as possible and I encourage anyone participating in an employer-sponsored hackday to do the same.

Generally I tried to do something with hardware and the experience was always extremely gratifying. I built great relationships with coworkers through those projects.

The Christopher Alexander solution described in Peopleware sounds like a good compromise, having both individual and group spaces.

"People cannot work effectively if their workspace is too enclosed or too exposed. A good workspace strikes the balance."

"fashion space explicitly around working groups. Each team needs identifiable public and semiprivate space and each individual needs protected private space. The team members and their space counselor could work out the possible ways their space could be arranged."


> space counselor

Does anyone have a "space counselor" how is not their manager? I've always taken my "space counselor" issues to my direct manager.

Their idea of a "space counselor" wouldn't work in a startup or even a small company. In a large company like Google or IBM or Microsoft then having someone who just specializes in knowing where all the buildings are, their floorplans, and who is currently using which rooms would be quite important. When you form a team (of 3-5 people, ideally) in this company you would go to them and find a spot where you could all work together. They would help you pick out furniture, design the layout, recommend putting in a couch and coffee table, etc. They would basically be the front-end UI for the entire facilities department.

This would indeed be happening completely independently of your normal manager (except that your manager probably told you where to find the space counselor, made an appointment for you, etc).

I find myself and some of my peers working from home on days we need to keep our head down. I agree, organically interaction and social time will exist regardless of open/closed space. The problem I find for myself is that debugging complex problems or designing new complex systems is extremely difficult in an open space. These situations lend well to either booking a meeting room for myself or working from home.

The problem is that neither is ideal because I want to be at my desk. My desk is setup in the way I like and want it to be for my maximum productivity. Now my bookbag becomes a mobile desk with all the fixins so I can get work done in any of the above scenarios without much effort.

This is a problem and frankly I don't see the pros outweight the cons for open office.

That's the way to go. I work in a cube farm and I get a ton of noise from neighbors and most people eat lunch at their desk. Nothing social at all.

getting work done is NOT why I come to the office. I don't like to be one of those guys who sells half of his day to somebody. I come to work to have fun, meet people etc.I also have to work sometimes... but it is easier to mix the 2 of them in an open space. Sure, I'm not very productive, but that's not what I want.

Did I miss a sarcasm tag or are you serious? I honestly can't tell.

Remind me never to hire you

I guess every open office has at least one you. Pray that one only..

The irony is that in order to get things done it's better to work from home. How's that for socialization?

OA mentions that the boss moved you all back into a 10,000 sqft space with offices.

What was the space before the move? i.e. in Open Office phase?

A data point as to alleged space saving might be useful ammunition.

Best of luck with it all.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact