There was a time when I thought a productive employee needed an office where they could shut the door and work away in distraction-free silence. However, while silence is precious and clearly needed at times, there is a lot to be said for the open cubicle office environment. Immediate collaboration is an obvious advantage. The ability to easily open a dialog with a nearby co-worker can be very attractive. However, there are rules and boundaries associated with cube space that we should understand before walking into or shouting over a coworker’s cubicle walls.
Have you ever found yourself squirming away from a ‘close talker?’ No one likes to have their personal space invaded. A cube is a private space that should be respected. Often coworkers welcome conversation, but there are times when an interruption is just that: a disruption to someone’s current train of thought. The chatter that takes place around your cube can be just as invasive. Both business and personal banter can easily distract you from your task at hand.
In these environments there needs to be places of refuge. At Avanceon we have multiple conference, huddle and one-on-one rooms where discussions can take place without interfering with others. We also use white noise generators to help mask the chatter in and outside of these rooms. Private chats or discussions can still happen in a cubicle as long as those discussions do not hinder others in nearby spaces. Don’t be offended when your neighbor asks that you take your conversation to a private place; at some point, you will be that neighbor.
How do you balance collaboration and privacy in the office? Where have you found ‘your space?’