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desk or pod at work?

 
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i've always had a desk in my own cubicle when working at client sites as a consultant except for my last assignment where i worked in a pod (one big table or small tables put together to form one big table) with fellow developers working on the same project.

it was a very interesting experience and honestly, i think i now prefer the pod more than having my own cube.


pros:
communication is better...issues need to be addressed or if you need help asap with something that other developers know the answer to.

cons:

no privacy (like when you want to pick your nose ).


....just curious on other developers/consultants experiences and preference.
[ August 17, 2007: Message edited by: dennis zined ]
 
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I don't know exactly what a "pod" is. By "cube" you mean cubicle, the way people in the USA commonly work?

Here in Europe, cubicles are not at all common. I've always worked in rooms with multiple colleagues, so a room with multiple desks, everyone has his/(her) own desk but we're all in the same room. Sometimes it's not really a room but a whole floor of a building with a lot of people. As long as people are not making too much noise and talking on phones a lot, this works very well.

I'm used to working with colleagues together like this and I think I wouldn't like it if I was in a cubicle or room alone. That would make it so hard to work together! With the way I work it's very easy to talk and work together on things.
 
dennis zined
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(edited post for clarity)
 
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I am in a similar situation in my current job. The management wants to adopt "agile" practices, so we dont have any cubicles. There are like 8 other developers in my room, and it can get very disturbing at times, and I feel I probably can get a lot more work done without such disturbance...
The "no cubicle" idea may work well when all the developers in the same room are working towards a common goal on the same project, but if everyone is doing something else and no "technical" communication is needed, I honestly feel an open office is just distracting.
 
dennis zined
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Originally posted by Jesper Young:
I don't know exactly what a "pod" is. By "cube" you mean cubicle, the way people in the USA commonly work?

Here in Europe, cubicles are not at all common. I've always worked in rooms with multiple colleagues, so a room with multiple desks, everyone has his/(her) own desk but we're all in the same room. Sometimes it's not really a room but a whole floor of a building with a lot of people. As long as people are not making too much noise and talking on phones a lot, this works very well.

I'm used to working with colleagues together like this and I think I wouldn't like it if I was in a cubicle or room alone. That would make it so hard to work together! With the way I work it's very easy to talk and work together on things.




interesting! yeah, i bet you can get a lot things done working close together and communication is better.

when i previously worked in a pod...my colleagues were very polite to step out so as not to disturb others working near by (or perhaps it could also mean they want privacy while on the phone)
 
dennis zined
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Originally posted by v ray:
I am in a similar situation in my current job. The management wants to adopt "agile" practices, so we dont have any cubicles. There are like 8 other developers in my room, and it can get very disturbing at times, and I feel I probably can get a lot more work done without such disturbance...



i initially felt the same way but as days passed i got used to filtering unnecessary noise and only be receptive to those of use to the project. at the end i was a convert. i think prefer the pod and will probably get a lot of things done and faster than working in my own cubicle.

Originally posted by v ray:
The "no cubicle" idea may work well when all the developers in the same room are working towards a common goal on the same project, but if everyone is doing something else and no "technical" communication is needed, I honestly feel an open office is just distracting.



yeah that doesnt make sense at all
 
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I started in a gigantic room with rows of desks from one end to the other. After that it was nice to move into cubicles, fairly high walls, two people, fair amount of privacy. Every furniture change since then has been to lower walls, now no back walls or door, we just sit with our butts hanging out in the aisle. I'm personally insulted at the ever decreasing respect for the poor grunts on the line. I'm now worth half the square footage I was before?

I interviewed at one shop that had private offices for each person. I think that's too isolated, even if Joel on Software still swears by it. But the cheap little place to park a PC is not a good alternative. It's not well enough engineered to pair program or even work closely with folks a few feet down the aisle.

Color me grumpy I guess.
 
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Back in 2004, when I worked for Sun, they used hotelling. Everyone got an office, but you need to reserve it. You desktop also moved with you based on a smart card.

It kinda worked great in that local offices tend to have many people that worked at customer sites anyway. So you have the benefits of an office, for the once a week or month that you actually used it. I think it is actually a very nice compromise.

It's too bad that the senior managers started to take the best offices out of the hotel for themselves. But that's a different story...

Henry
 
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I work in a sea of cubes and there are only 2 actual offices here for our whole division.
I want a damn ceiling and door. Not that I hate my neighbors, but the noise and annoying distractions are insane. I can handle phone calls etc, but when I have to listen to the total BS that goes on here, it makes me want to cry. I wear my mp3 player all day long with metal blasting in my head just to work.

I have no clue how you could tolerate an open office when you had to watch your neighbors all day long. I need a bit of privacy. Hell, I need a freakin wall just to hand important stuff that I use all day long.

I forgot to mention... I don't do software dev work. I can see how open offices would be beneficial for that, but I like walls. Call me a hermit. Call me a grumpy old man.
 
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I work in an open plan office, but the room is in a ring shape around the central kitchen/stair well, so it doesn't feel like working in a huge cave full of desks. Although the idea of a private walled off area is sometimes tempting, I really like the social aspect of working in an office where I can chat with colleagues. The banter which goes back and forth is an enjoyable part of the job. When I have lots to do and need to concentrate, I just put some music on my MP3 player and shut the world out.

I think if I worked in a cubicle I could well go the entire day without talking to anyone, which would be a bit annoying.
 
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I would almost kill for an office of my own. Or even a cubicle. Unfortunately, in Europe, it's all more or less open plan, except if you're way at the top. If you want your own room, you'll have to start your own business.

I am as human as the next person, and yes, I too need company now and then. But not all the time, for goodness' sake, I come here to work!
 
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Yeah, been in open plan offices every since they became popular. Liked it more when we had offices, just five or six to an office. Much easier to concentrate. I like the idea of open plan offices, but for call centers - not programming. Kind of strange how a lot of folks realises that it is difficult to develop while sitting in the middle of an open plan office - yet we all seem to be in them.

Think its time for a new type of certification SCJP++ - where you prove your worth by doing the exam with the normal office distractions :-) and get interrupted every five minutes.

Have never seen a American "Pod" - sounds horrific
 
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I once helped set up room with big tables and workstations as an alternative to cubicles. We added couches, a little pond, funky lighting and lots of nerf guns. People generally reported that it was a toss between working in there and having your own cube. The cube offered privacy, the little room was really cool.
 
Stan James
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One team I was on did a few months in a conference room ... tables around the outside, 12 people in the middle. We brought in our own PCs but only like 2 phones in the room, zero personal stuff like pictures and toys. The open communication was nice but the rest of it stunk. Really.

In another phase we didn't have enough desks and some ThoughtWorkers sat on the FLOOR. Wires and backpacks and food all over the place. Amazingly they didn't complain much. Nice bunch of guys. Too bad they couldn't park the ThoughtMobile outside and work there.

My current environment (new this year) has a great deal of non-work conversation all around. It's all very macho ... guns, sports, high end TVs, remodeling. It wouldn't be too irritating except for a couple guys who seem to know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING a solid 8 hours a day. We're all pretty happy that I don't own any automatic weapons.
 
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