It’s a Jungle Out There

Sitting in an open floor plan office or having flexible, unassigned seating at work is a challenge to be sure, but these tips can make your work space a bit more bearable.

OK, I didn’t even know that “unassigned seating” was possible. I’m sure it’s cute when you are 20 but later in life it’s simply undignified. God, I love my job.

10 thoughts on “It’s a Jungle Out There

  1. Don’t hold your breath. Between open floor plan offices and open plan houses we’re just going to get rid of all the walls in every building until they’re all just one big room. Some advanced people will just have a floor plan without an outer wall. Destroying the open plan trend is something I can definitely get behind.

    Music: The DJT rendition of “Mending Wall,” by Robert Frost; the open mouthed chewing sounds and petty anger-whispered cell phone fights of your neighbors while phones ring constantly. A fire alarm that needs a battery chirps loudly.


  2. I’ve had the same thought about my job and office. My husband used to have a great office of his own, but following a re-org his company did away with individual offices and went to a hot-desk situation with conference rooms that can be reserved for max two hours. Since most of the people in his office are in sales rather than technical staff (so in and out of the office, short meetings with clients, etc), this works for them, but emphatically not for him and the other technical guys who need to settle in and spread out their equipment and reference works, write things on whiteboards, and talk to each other then sit in silence to code. He came home yesterday wroth about a long search for a place in which he could get some work done, the actual work that the company sells.


    1. Ditto. I have a technical job and open plan offices are the worst invention ever. And standing desks. God, do I hate standing desks!


    1. It’s nice for entertaining: when we have people round we somehow often end up all congregating in the cramped kitchen. If it was open plan with the rest of the living space this wouldn’t happen as much. For day-to-day living, I see both advantages and disadvantages: some days I don’t like being isolated from the rest of the family while I cook/clean up, but other days I enjoy it 🙂


      1. Right – that is how it’s sold. So your kitchen has to be sleek. I’ve got a large kitchen with a door to the dining room next door, that can be open or closed. I don’t like it when the kitchen is effectively in the living room. One of my parents’ houses had flow between kitchen and dining, but the living room was around the corner so you didn’t have to stare at the stove all the time…


        1. I don’t like it that my kitchen isn’t a separate room from the living room. This means I can’t cook in peace when anybody else is at home. Cooking is my meditation, and I don’t want to be constantly interrupted while doing it.


  3. My first newspaper job in the 1970s was at a morning daily. The medium-small city had one newspaper company that ran two theoretically competing newspapers, the morning daily and the afternoon daily. Each newspaper had a staff of no more than about 20 reporters and editors. The two newspapers SHARED ONE NEWSROOM! No one had their own desk, except the two managing editors. Reporters and copy editors of the afternoon paper used the desks from the wee hours of the morning until about noon. The staff of the morning paper took over the same desks from about 2 PM to 2 AM. Of course newsrooms then and now were always open areas, the better to allow for communication between reporters and editors, usually by shouting. No electric typewriters, every desk had a standard typewriter. Imagine the clatter of many standard type writers, and the ringing phones. No one person was assigned to answer the phone; everyone was assigned to answer the phone. Whoever grabbed the phone then placed the call on hold, stood up and shouted the name of the person for whom the call was intended. He’s working conditions were the norm at most daily newspapers, large and small. I just thought everyone ought to know.


  4. My uni is transitional by to shared offices and bootable small meeting rooms for when you need one on one time with a student, and my former post doc is now an academic in a 4 desk office shared by 5 academics (yes, local equiv of tenured academics at a respectable university, not adjuncts). It’s coming for us.


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