When we moved into our new space in June 2011, we were a bit apprehensive (alright I was a bit apprehensive) about giving up private offices and cubicles for the great wide open of no offices.Nada, none. After twenty five years of hiding behind 4 walls and a closed door whenever I wanted it shut, I would be working in an open environment along with everyone else in our 45+ person office. Corner offices became open meeting areas. Additional conferences rooms were created for calls and collaboration with client teams. Small nooks and crannies created for quick swarms on a project. (Great views of Lake Michigan and Grant Park help morale too!)
Well, after 18 months, I’m happy to report I quickly adapted to this new environment. It really wasn’t all that hard to tune out discussions around me, even those directly across from where I sit. That person has their business to conduct and I have mine.
It’s also led to my listening to music while I work, particularly in the afternoons when I might need a bit of jolt. The music becomes background noise, providing a soothing cover for close proximity office chatter and the loud exclamations from the media department who have a great need to banter back and forth all day while they somehow get their work done.
My music library is mainly rock ‘n roll from the 60’s to the current day, interspersed with jazz recordings. At first I thought Spotify was kinda cool and let my friends know what I was listening to. After a while though, I decided they didn’t really give a hoot about my greatest hits of the Woodstock era and stopped that practice. Plus I didn’t want to appear too eager to show off my meager knowledge of the “hot” bands of today since they probably became one hit wonders by the time I heard them for the first time.
18 months later though I can truly say this open floor space has turned us into more of a collaborative group. I think most of us feel a little closer to our fellow employees in a way that might never have happened behind closed doors and cubicle walls. It has allowed us to create a much cooler and more creative work environment than if we had to worry about the size of different offices for different seniority levels. Now we’re all equal and that’s pretty nice. Rock on, my friends.