What is your office layout like?

Different work environments work better for different people. I’ve worked in a few different types of environments:

  • Own office closed off from everyone else (with a code on the door for entry)
  • Office shared with just the team I worked with & it was open plan (we had no cubicles), I’ve worked in two of these
  • Open plan office with between 20-30 staff not all on my team

I personally preferred the second setup. I don’t like being on my own all of the time and I found that when it was just our team we could collaborate easier. We could also have mini break outs and all team had a bit of a chat over tea which helped us get to know each other and, in turn, communicate better with each other.

Having said that, sometimes when I was trying to puzzle out a really tough problem working from home on my own was great. I guess, depending on the situation, I much prefer the first two setups to the third.

What is your office layout like? Have you worked in a few different types? Is there one you prefer?

  1. Working from home: I tried this once, and it was not for me. There are too many distractions there, even with my own “office”.
  2. Working in an office with one other person (not always on my team). When I’m actively in a test session, this is great. There are no distractions and the quiet makes for good focus. It can be isolating, since the remainder of the team is in a shared work area.
  3. Open plan with all of the team in a shared space. This is great, assuming I’m stuck in a corner (which always seems to happen). With a glance, I can see who is there and who is not. The spaces are separated enough to give some personal area. The team seems more of a team in this space. The down side is that when there are distractions, there is no way to escape them. That and everyone knows when you are having a bad day.

An idea I’m toying with is having multiple work areas. Since my work is on a laptop and my phone is mobile, I may be able to move to where the action is. There are a few empty desks, which could give me the chance to be closer to the developers who are on my team at the moment.

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I really like the setup I’m in right now: Offices of 2-4 people, clustered so that the whole team is in the same cluster (about 4 rooms per team), so there’s privacy and some quiet, with information flowing around easily and everyone is within a shout’s reach.

What I really try to avoid is open space offices - just the thought of 20-50 people moving all around me and making noise makes my head spin.

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Open office here. I love the fact that you can speak with lots of people quickly but thank goodness for headphones as I don’t enjoy the constant ‘dull roar’ of multiple conversations.

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Out of 7 years and 4 offices, I’ve been mostly in the last cases(with open plan, where rarely someone was in my team). Really hard to focus, lots of distraction when people walk near you about 300+ times/day, hard to talk freely - you don’t know who might not like it, collaborate - had to run to them 50-100 meters or use IM/E-mails to collaborate with team members.
Only about 6 months I’ve been in the 2nd case - and it was nice.(smallish team - 6-8 people).


I’m currently in an open-plan office with about 200 people spread around a u-shaped office with movable partitions to separate us into manageable communities. We’re theoretically hot-deskers, but, as is normal with people, we fall into a pattern and sit near our team in a regular desk.
My personal preference is for a mix of layouts- cubicles for “alone time”, or smaller rooms for team-only sessions.

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Open plan office with around 150 people although the office is in a circle/horseshoe shape so in my immediate vicinity are about 50 people.

I’ve not really known anything else so I quite enjoy this. I don’t get distracted easily so I don’t mind peoples conversations (and I’m a bit of a eavesdropper when it comes to work related conversations!). We all used ‘fixed’ desktop PCs, so no option to hot desk here.

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Open plan office, about 80 people in our area with my test team sat next to the dev team we work closest with, about 500 people on this floor in total. Never experienced anything different but I am glad for my noise cancelling headphones when i need to block out the noise and focus.

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I’ve worked in the following setups:
a. big clunky desks in an open plan but broken up by giant filing cabinets and partial cube walls.
b. a private office with a door that closed.
c. cube farm
d. cube farm with cubes big enough for white boards and a visitor
e. open plan office with about 60 people around.

I have to say that I did actually get more done with a private office, because if I was head down in something, I could close the door and nobody would interrupt me (unless there was fire).

I deeply despise my current setup. I have a few shelves and drawers, but no place to even hang up a calendar, much less have a whiteboard. I miss my whiteboard :(:cry: – I have never found anything so useful for brainstorming. And people wander past me all day, breaking my concentration even if I have headphones on. It also caused a Crisis of National Importance when I asked for a keyboard drawer to improve my ergonomics. You’d think I had dynamited the unit. Luckily a note from my doctor made them fix my problem, but I’ll never ask for anything related again – bought my own split keyboard and ergo trackball.