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Dealing with moving into open-space offices?

KlaymenDK (713149) writes | more than 4 years ago

User Journal 7

Also submitted as a story:
http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=8731706

Also submitted as a story:
http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=8731706

The team of developers I'm part of will soon be moving into our country headquarters from a branch office. The branch office consists of 2-3 person offices, with more space for managers and meeting rooms. The headquarters, on the other hand, was rebuilt some years ago into the then-fashionable "open-space" format; apart from the print rooms there are now only a few huge 60-80 person open-space offices; even the hallways were included so people must walk right between the tables (talking to one another or into cell phones) and there are no meeting rooms or manager's offices. Of course we have our share of colleagues who are plain noise-makers, or who just happen to have "fog horn" or "buzz saw" voices (poor souls). My awesome boss and team leader have been unable to secure any kind of "quiet space" for us developers.

So I ask: How can we, as developers, best deal with this? (I don't want to quit over it, so that's one suggestion you can skip). I could work from home several days a week, but I really don't have room for a permanent home office in my flat. I am looking into noise cancelling headphones/earbuds (I don't want to drown out noise with more noise (music), I would "just" like a bit of quiet) and even considering DIY egg-carton cubicle partitions. I am also trying to locate some of the studies and reports that debunk open-space offices (convincing management is a reeeaaal long shot, but I have to try turning every stone) so if you know where to find 'em, links please. I fear I'll be the guy who jumps up twenty times a day and shouts SHUT THE HELL UP EVERYONE! I clearly need some help before that actually happens!

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7 comments

quiet noise (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802796)

Quiet noise is the worst. Exceedingly distracting. Absent music playing, you won't get the experience you desire from noise canceling headphones.

Re:quiet noise (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30807146)

No, paper shuffling and (non-Model-M) keyboard clatter I can deal with. That woman shouting to be heard in her telephone conference, and that guy with the annoying (-ly frequent) laugh -- that's exceedingly distracting.

Re:quiet noise (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 4 years ago | (#30808852)

You miss my point. Noise canceling headphones kill the background noise at the same time they reduce the other noise. The woman shouting into her telephone isn't as loud, but it's the *only* thing you hear. You have to deliberately introduce music or white noise to make it fade into the background.

Re:quiet noise (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30810396)

Ah right, thanks. But you're talking noise reduction, aren't you? I'd imagine active cancellation would reduce everything evenly. That's one of the reasons I'm looking into it; I don't rightly know what to expect (and trial and error would be expensive).

quit (1)

treat (84622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30803096)

Quit. Your management is not giving you what you need in order to do your job.

If you can listen to headphones (big closed ones) and people leave you alone, you might find it possible to concentrate. But in most offices people won't respect your need for concentration, and the glare from the lights that can't be dimmed will make eye strain worse.

Choose music that has few words and few silent parts. Jazz, some classical, trance. Silent parts to the music allows you to briefly hear the noise in the office and be distracted. Prominent words are distracting.

Re:quit (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30807112)

Quit. Your management is not giving you what you need in order to do your job.

As I said, I don't want to quit over this.

If you can listen to headphones (big closed ones) and people leave you alone, you might find it possible to concentrate.

Oh, but I am. I am listening to lots and lots of instrumental music from Last.fm and mazemod, but there are times where I want to not have stuff in/on my ears, or just want silence rather than drowning the noise in music.

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