It is absolutely amazing to me that most companies will spend tons of money on great-looking buildings but inside will fill its offices with cubicle farms. I don’t know about you but I’ve never enjoyed working in a cubicle.
One of the main issues that I have is the ambient noise. No matter what your company policy is there’s always going to be someone who decides to talk and it’s going to disturb you. The way you deal with this problem is that you get headphones and blast music through your ears. Then, you’ll miss your phone’s ring and your neighbour will be mad.
The other problem is visual effects. There’s always someone walking past, or some disturbance in your visual spectrum. Big distraction.
I think Joel wrote about this a while back. When you’re working in software, there’s a significant amount of thinking involved. It’s hard to think when there are distractions taking place. No wonder we create so much buggy software.
And I don’t even write software and I find it difficult. Some of the best quality of work that I’ve done has been when there are very few people left at the office and the office is silent. You’ll be amazed at how much work you can get done and at your efficiency as well.
Yeah, I know it makes economic sense to build a cubicle farm. But, instead of building fancy shmancy buildings, build a building with a crappy exterior and spend money giving each person a quiet place to work inside. I’m sure the employees will appreciate it a lot more since they spend so much time at their desk, not outside staring at the building.
Isn’t it what’s inside that counts?