Yesterday I realized this open culture of cube farms doesn’t work. Facebook and Google may have created the push for this open culture but they are counterproductive. Don’t get me wrong here. At one time I thought they were productive. I thought they were the way to go but then I realized something. People aren’t collaborating and the people who are collaborating are disturbing the rest of the people in the area. If you walk around you will see almost everyone with a headset on or ear phones in. They aren’t in online meetings. They are trying to drown out the noise of all the conversations in the area so they can be somewhat productive which means they aren’t collaborating. They are slowly becoming less and less productive.
Over the years I’ve been in numerous office situations. I’ve found that individual offices don’t work either. They create silos of people who hardly ever collaborate causing lots of rework. I think they work great for managers and executives who need their private times but not for individuals or team leaders.
So what is the solution? The solution is a mix of both. This mix is team rooms. Rooms that seat anywhere from 5 to 10 people in a room where the area in that room is open just like the low wall cube farms. This allows for teams to become closer than just colleagues and that is what builds a team. That is what fosters collaboration, open communication, and ownership. The people in the room work on the same or similar projects that require open atmosphere communication. This is the day-to-day communication that doesn’t directly affect a project but is important. The team members shouldn’t need to wear head phones every day to get work done. The team leaders should also sit with their team members to keep track of their team’s problems and activities.
Just some thoughts from a rambling office worker.