SPUG: Results of Work Space Survey

Richard Anderson starfire at zipcon.net
Thu Nov 15 16:19:57 CST 2001

Thanks for taking time to participate.  The actual results (below) aren't
too surprising, but some of the comments (excerpts below) were enlightening.

I'd be interested in seeing some discussion (on the list) on questions like:

* What would your ideal workspace look like?
* How did your workspace at your previous employer contribute to or hinder
your productivity?
* If you did not communicate this to management at your previous employer,
why not?
* If you did, what was the response / action?

Survey results (41 respondents):
  1. Private cubicle                            49%
  2. Shared cubicle                             12%
  3. Private office                             24%
  4. Shared office                              15%
  5. Open bullpen or lab                         0%
  6. Other                                       0%

  7. Have a window as part of your workspace    30%
  8. Are close to a window                      32.5%
  9. Have no window                             37.5%

Excerpted comments from survey responses:

my theory is that shared offices are best, as long as they're big enough
that you've got enough room for two people- then you have an instant code
review partner. (:

private office w/ windows, monitors facing away from hallway, so I can be
very productive or very not. seriously, i find it pretty productive, and
the other lead developer has the office next to me, so we just talk
through the wall.

I worked in a cube at my last job and it sucked.  It was so noisy from
people talking, shooting off Nerf guns, etc.., that it was a major factor
in my decision to leave.

For what it's worth, I had a private office when I used to work at <major
computer company> and I was much more productive because there was no
distracting noise of neighboring conversations.

I think I've been most productive at home where I could work in my
own office with little interruption (while kids were in school, anyways
:)). I find cubicles way too distracting - I distract myself well enough
and don't need others to help me :).

AT IDEAL <previous employer>
It was one big long room, and everyone had his/her own
private workstation, chair, desk, storage area, but
they weren't really "cubicles" because they all opened
into the long wide center isle.  One of the long walls
was a huge window, and yes, I sat right next to it,
but even when I was first hired (and sat across the
room from the window) it was easy to look out the
window (I crave that natural lighting, even if it is
through glass).  There was no "piped in" music.  The
place was quiet as a library when everyone was working
hard.  Many employees listened to music with
headphones.  When the workload wasn't as great, there
was more occasional chatting across the room, and no
one complained as long as it wasn't too constant or
too loud:

At LESS THAN IDEAL <previous employer>,
I had a shared, VERY TINY office (2 people), no
window.  Yes, I did like my officemate.  I brought a
rotating fish lamp to replace the window I didn't have
so that when my eyes got tired of the monitor I would
have something to look away at, and I brought in an
incandescent lamp to replace the sunlight I would miss
(the overhead was - YUCK - fluorescent).

Richard Anderson

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