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whta is an ideal office environment?

i need ur suggestions about this question

asad munir
Monday, March 01, 2004

One where people know how to spell.

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Monday, March 01, 2004

What, you don't speak Ur? It's the international language of lazy people! :-D

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, March 01, 2004

Ideal office environment for me lets me have my radio on and my cat has a nice place to nap. I have a good view of a lake, vinyards or mountains (and if I'm really lucky, all three). The road leading to the site is not busy, and it's several miles to anything that someone would call a highway.

Clay Dowling
Monday, March 01, 2004

Do you have such an office environment, Clay? (Be careful how you answer as a carving knife held in the hands of a jealous man can be a dangerous thing!)


Monday, March 01, 2004

radio on
- yes (jazz)
my cat has a nice place to nap
- my dog naps in front of fireplace
I have a good view of a ...
- forest (and fireplace)
The road leading to the site is not busy
- couple cars per hour
several miles to ...highway
- 12 in fact

No matter how high up the corporate ladder you climb, no matter how many corner offices full of windows, NOTHING beats a rural home office !

Joe Hendricks
Monday, March 01, 2004

A few years ago I saw a documentary which showed Terry Gilliam's home office.    Imagine a props department took up residence in the library of a victorian stately home.  Looking out across a bloody big garden at London from the top of a hill (Hamstead for those who know London). 

I am seriously jealous.

a cynic writes...
Monday, March 01, 2004

I recently asked this question and I have the following references to offer:

Previous JOS thread:
http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=62774&ixReplies=10
(interstingly, we will not be looking for new office space now. Instead, the powers that be have decided to relocate operations to another state, combining us with another group. Thus, I'm out of a job. Such is life. Anyone looking for an embedded SW guy with Linux and Windows NT experience, let me know).

Peopleware by DeMarco & Lister (good section on offices. Available from Amazon, etc.)

On October 4, 1999 the Washington Post did an article entitled 'A Vast Exploration of Office Space'. It's about SRA International's offices.

IBM did some studies back in the 1970's at thier Santa Teresa facility into office space. The relevant IBM System's Journal issues are available on IBM's web site (somewhere) as scanned PDF files. (You want Volume 17, Number 1, from 1978).

This abstract references a relevant paper on noise:
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Jan01/noisy.offices.ssl.html

MITRE's engineers like walls:
http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/0902/0902covstory_officesb.asp

So does the SAS Institute:
http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/business/963800668.php

These folks have some interesting things to say, but very little hard data:

http://www.cubedoor.com/whitepapers.php
http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/1998/11/09/focus6.html

Side note:
There was also an interesting study I found at the IBM facility about system response time vs. programmer productivity. It might be useful in justifying computer upgrades someday. It was in the IBM System's journal Volume 23, No 1, 1984 and was titled 'A comparative study of system response time on program developer productivity'.

Michael Kohne
Monday, March 01, 2004

Something like Thomas Crown's office from the movie "Thomas Crown Affair" (the new one) :)

Anon
Monday, March 01, 2004

Clay, when you have the vineyard, lake, mountain, cat figured out for your own venture call us. We'll work for you.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, March 01, 2004

Having a home office, I have both the radio, moderate remoteness, and a place for my cat. I don't have the view, although I do have a very nice yard and like to work on the deck in the summer. It's a suburban yard though, not a proper vinyard, and this part of Michigan is very flat.  In short, I'm close but no cigar (wife won't let me smoke in the house).

When I finally get that full setup, there's going to be bloody few computers and a lot of brewery equipment.

Clay Dowling
Monday, March 01, 2004

Shower. Don't forget the shower!
Actually, add a hottub and a sauna for those "starting of on a new enterprise design days".
Steambath for meetings? Is there such a thing as a whiteboard for use in steambaths?

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, March 01, 2004

Yeah, it's called a glass door.

 
Monday, March 01, 2004

After the fallen angel called devil was thrown on the face of the earth, there are no ideal office environments anymore.
To get things ideal I'm afraid you have to go to heaven first.

So the only way to an ideal office environment is to love one's neighbour...

I have to quite now, my off-topic alarm is blaring

kind regards
John Fisher

John Fisher
Monday, March 01, 2004

I posted on this before but I'll have a go again. Out the window I see the field with the goats and also the pond full of frogs that are chirping deafeningly even as I write this. Beyond that, a wide field, then a larger pond filled with Bass and Bluegill. Then, a big hill topped with trees.

I can't see the vineyard from the office though, but it's about 50 ft out the door in case I want to take a quick trip to get some grapes to munch on.

Nearest highway with any traffic is I think about 6 miles away. Nearest with much traffic is 12 miles away in the opposite direction.

I agree with the others that this is the ideal office environment.

X. J. Scott
Monday, March 01, 2004

This is one of those "Let a million answers bloom" things.  Everyone has different opinions on what makes an office confortable.

Me, I look for a bike rack, a nearby river, and a shower on site.  If I can't take my shell out on the water over lunch it's just not going to be a fun place to work on bright summer days.

Lou
Monday, March 01, 2004

This is one of my favorite topics.  The requirements for an ideal office for software development have been fairly well known for decades.  The problem is finding an employer that provides anything close.  The main criteria for good office space are:
- Quiet.
- Private offices with a white board, door and window.
- Offices arranged near other team members so that interaction can occur on an as needed basis.  Having offices big enough for small meetings and near larger conference rooms and labs, as appropriate for the project.

If you are working solo or can telecommute then the home offices described in this thread can be very nice.  For team projects it might not be optimal.

mackinac
Monday, March 01, 2004

If you have an hour to burn, check out the horror stories at this awesome Slashdot thread.  This is my favorite story in recent memory:

"The Absolute Worst Working Environment?"
http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/01/21/1724230&mode=thread

pds
Monday, March 01, 2004

12 guys cramped in a room, doing a contract project for a government department with Oracle JDBC drivers whose trial period is about to expire in 5 days and Weblogic copies that don't know very well what they're suppose to do. Oh, and did I tell you that there's so many of us because the project timing was seriously underestimated?


This isn't my favorite workplace. I just wanted to wipe those smiles off your faces.

RP
Monday, March 01, 2004

My office environment's worse than that, RP. I have 8 bosses! 8 bosses, RP! And I have to work on lame TPS reports! And my boss makes me work Saturdays!

Peter G.
Monday, March 01, 2004

Peter G.,

...remember, next Friday is Hawaiian shirt day. So, you know, if you want to go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.

Lumbergh
Monday, March 01, 2004

I slept under the port catapult on an aircraft carrier for two years.

Believe it or not, that was easier to get used to than sleeping under the helicopter deck on a guided missile cruiser.

Of course, I'll take either of those over the working environments of some of my classmates who are right now sleeping in sand and getting shot at in Iraq...

Philo

Philo
Monday, March 01, 2004

>> my cat has a nice place to nap
- my dog naps in front of fireplace

The dog has no issues with the cat.

(I'm not really contributing to this forum.)

Alex.ro
Monday, March 01, 2004

I left my last job shortly after I received a department wide email.  It had everyone's emails listed.  I went through and counted the engineers vs. the management.  I counted 9 engineers and 19 managers; it was time to move on.

Elephant
Monday, March 01, 2004

I got called by my other half one day. He's talking away to me and suddenly there's this NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

And after I recoverd my hearing and turned down the volume on my phone, I said "What in the bloody hell was that?"

And he says, "Oh, the factory is divided up into bays -- some of them have desks for the managers. The only manager's bay they had free was next to Bill. Bill cuts up metal all day with a bandsaw...."

Katie Lucas
Monday, March 01, 2004

> I slept under the port catapult on an aircraft carrier for two years.

This explains the "poor performance under stressful conditions can be trained away" comment in the apprentice thread.

I think the #1 most important thing for an ideal work environment is actually giving a damn about the work you're doing. Celebrating milestones, and having a real sense of accomplishment from projects that have launched. Getting along with your coworkers, and if it's possible, looking foward to going to work.

History has shown that people can overcome extreme external environments when these factors are in place.

But since this is all too often an unrealized ideal, I would say an office environment you can customize to your taste without encroaching on your neighbor. Since budget & factors beyond your control typically dictate things like office/cubicle, making what you've got work for you is the most important thing - and this can only happen in an environment where you feel safe and get along with everyone else.

As long as you have the right equipment to do the job (there have been times that I didn't, and let me tell you... it sucks), I think that we focus on the environment as a way to sublimate and express anger about the project itself. This is just an extention of our dissatisfied consumerist lifestyles and the emptiness we feel with our jobs. I.e. "buy this car to feel good" is no different from "change out the flourescent lights to feel good."

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, March 01, 2004

"As long as you have the right equipment to do the job (there have been times that I didn't, and let me tell you... it sucks), I think that we focus on the environment ..."

environment IS part of the "right equipment"


Monday, March 01, 2004

"> I slept under the port catapult on an aircraft carrier for two years.

This explains the "poor performance under stressful conditions can be trained away" comment in the apprentice thread."

Oh, that wasn't stressful. Driving 100,000 tons of steel at 14 knots 110 feet from a ship full of oil - *that* is stressful. And it's entirely possible that Katrina could handle it, with the proper training.

Her problem on Apprentice was being thrown into that situation with no emotional preparation whatsoever. I'll bet one week of leadership (note: not MBA or business, *Leadership*) training and she'd have handled it no problem.

...or not. But there's no way to know until you try.

Philo

Philo
Monday, March 01, 2004

> In short, I'm close but no cigar

Don't worry Clay. Look at it this way, it saved your life ;-)


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Hookers, hookers, hookers!

Dave
Saturday, March 06, 2004

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