in reply to On Creating an Effective Work Environment

I think a good answer to your question really requires a thorough understanding of your staff and their personal foibles. For instance in general I dont like music playing when I code and im not a morning person. OTOH Ive worked with people whose idea pushing out the code means coming to the office at 6am and cranking the thrash metal. Needless to say neither of us were entirely happy working in close proximity to the other. Nor were either of us as productive as we could have been. I suffered through music I could (mostly) tune out, and he suffered by not being able to listen to music he really liked.

My point is that having the flexibility to accomodate the various personality types out there in one office will probably be your best approach. If you have enviornments were the rowdy types can be grouped together to laugh, shout and work, while at the same time leaving us quieter types a place to go and meditate and concentrate, with some kind of common ground in between for hanging out and brainstorming and drinking beveridges (and maybe smoking depending on what country you are in :) then I think everybody will be able to find their comfort zone and be more productive.

Grouping your coders (by personality type) in pairs in offices with windows and doors like they do often in academia, with a friendly meeting room for the rest seems like a viable approach. Certainly one that I would like to work in.


<Elian> And I do take a kind of perverse pleasure in having an OO assembly language...

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Re: On Creating an Effective Work Environment
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Aug 22, 2003 at 14:03 UTC
    I was about to write something similar to your post. I've seen quite some replies that suggested one uniform environment. Silly, because people are different. While some people prefer a big "office garden", others prefer offices. I would hate working in an "office garden", a large open area. I really dislike it when people watch over my shoulder - and such an open area would make me all itchy. I rather prefer cubicles over a big open area. But in my opinion, offices are best. Meeting rooms of various sizes are good too. Some people say the less meetings, the better, but I disagree. Sometimes, things need to be discussed, designed or reviewed, and you need space for that.

    Grouping your coders (by personality type) in pairs in offices with windows and doors like they do often in academia,

    I'm currently working in a place where everyone has an office. Most offices are shared between two people. Over the weekend, we have a large (internal) move, and starting on Monday I'll share a good sized office with one person, with a window overlooking a train station.


      I agree. And to emphasize just how strong personal preferences can be, I find my productivity nearly triples when I have a window. Especially if I can look out at something and just stare for a few minutes a couple of times a day. A train station sounds absolutely perfect.

      In my current position I share an office with three others who *always* bounce in and out, up and down. Fortunately we have flex hours, so I've started working 12-9 to minimize overlap, so I can get some *real* work done.

Re: Re: On Creating an Effective Work Environment
by PodMaster (Abbot) on Aug 22, 2003 at 14:07 UTC
    I liked to play my music loud in the giant cubicle (3 people, big room) and the other would complain. Then I had a stroke of genius and got a set of headphones. I listened to what I want, and they did the same.

    MJD says "you can't just make shit up and expect the computer to know what you mean, retardo!"
    I run a Win32 PPM repository for perl 5.6.x and 5.8.x -- I take requests (README).
    ** The third rule of perl club is a statement of fact: pod is sexy.

Re: Re: On Creating an Effective Work Environment
by chunlou (Curate) on Aug 22, 2003 at 14:02 UTC
    May sound cliche, it's good to group people together that get along without creating factions or gangs, where people always don't trust the other side or even blame each other for whatever failure. That means, for example, regular (don't mean every minute) face-to-face communication is still important to maintain the overall cohesiveness.

      Actually in the area of creativity and productivity Ive seen many an argument for the contrary to what you say. There is one company in particular, (a large privately owned defense and hightech corporation in the US), where the owner more or less encourages his different divisions to compete against one another for contracts. This drives the individual teams creativity to the overall benefit of the company.

      Factions and gangs are only negative when their competition is unfriendly or underhand. Proper open faced friendly competition is a stimulant to open mindedness, productivity and creativeness.


      <Elian> And I do take a kind of perverse pleasure in having an OO assembly language...
        Oh. Right. It spurs growth if people compete with each other. It creates cannibalism when people compete against each other. Many mediocre managers understand and use it the wrong way and result in the latter.