We’re currently in the process of redesigning our workspace at Quixtar.
Quixtar Customer Support moved down the street to Alticor last spring, which will allow the other departments based at Spaulding to spread out. It’s a good thing, but it isn’t easy.
That’s because nothing sparks more debate and consternation than moving or changing a team’s workspace.
I’m pretty low maintenance. I don’t need much space and when I get more space, I tend to expand my stuff to fill the space I’m given. For me, less is more. I work off a laptop so as long as I have wireless access, I can park myself anywhere. I’ve also been very intrigued with the trend of “officeless” workspaces, where you essentially move your laptop and a small box of belongings to different spaces.
But I’m in the minority. Some people don’t want to sit anywhere near certain people. Some insist on a particular chair so they can work at a certain height. Some have unique workneeds that require different space requirements. But most of all, despite complaints about their existing workspace, what they don’t seem to want is change.
Because even if what “is” today isn’t ideal, or perfect, it is predictable and known.
But for some, it isn’t really the space that’s the issue…it’s the occupants of the space!
I used to work near someone who would mutter my name without reason over and over again, like a mantra. Drove me nuts. I’ve also sat near chronic pencil tappers, gum snappers, and hummers (one notable peer used to hum the theme to “Tequila”, pausing only for my mind to insert the word “Tequila”, or so I thought.).
Careerbuilder.com recently issued a news release about coworker annoyances. They included the coworker who gives everybody nicknames, the one whose office is littered with the artwork of their children (guilty!), the one who uses a lot of buzzwords and catch-phrases but essentially says nothing, and the person who ate smelly food at their desk or wore too much fragrance.
I’ve personally moved away and moved other people away from loud talkers. Or moved a constant talker.
So you try to create spaces that give privacy to those who need it. Give the person who needs to collaborate an open work space near those he or she needs to collaborate with. Put the loud talker near the person who works wearing an iPod most of the day. I’m going to start bringing my iPod to work because I found out the person on the other side of my cube was getting annoyed by me playing the Killers while I worked (I’m not sure whether it was the Killers or me singing along…I got soul, but I’m not a soldier.) I was just glad he spoke up rather than fuming about it.
You can’t make everyone happy. But you can be fair, consistent, and try to accommodate needs. And hopefully that will help create a better workspace. .
PS — I’ve been having trouble posting over the past week so I’m crossing my fingers that this one makes it over the transom and into my blog!