Office Space Adventures


Mark Biek

on 12/29/2015

Job 1: College library Helpdesk. No privacy, people coming and going all around

Job 2: We had a ping pong table but a cube-farm is a cube-farm.

Job 3: Full-time remote. Fantastically productive, but lonely.

Job 4: Cube-farm next to a noisy sales team.

Job 5: A cube, then an office but few good common spaces.

Job 6: Giant cube-farm with poor attempts at open-plan.

Job number 7 is VIA Studio which, as far as I can tell, has gotten the open-plan thing right.

First of all, the space is beautiful and comfortable. There’s plenty of natural light, art and cool furniture. It’s no wonder our building has been called one of the coolest office spaces in town. You can’t understate the importance of look-and-feel in an office.

The main area, where the production team works, is classic open-plan style. We have long tables arranged in various configurations with two people per table.

Coming in, my biggest fear was that that it would be too noisy but the open area is one of the quietest places I’ve ever worked.

The main conference room is on the other side of the building so meeting noise is just a dull murmur in the distance. People that need to talk on the phone a lot have offices upstairs so I don’t hear anything from them. People in the open area don’t have desk phones at all!

Most internal communication happens through Slack or face-to-face in one of the many common areas. Lack of common space is big failing in a lot of open-plan implementations. People need to have space to gather and space to be alone.

At VIA, we have conference rooms but we also have a good sized room with couches and comfy chairs, perfect for quick huddles or working with your legs stretched out. We also have a nice tall table if you want to work standing up and there’s plenty of room to sit at the counter in the kitchen.

I find myself moving around more throughout the day now. I’ll start the morning drinking a cup of tea and working on my laptop in the kitchen. After that, I usually spend the rest of the morning at my desk. After lunch, I might go sit on the couch, in our giant egg chair or go to the standing table for a while.

I’m more comfortable ergonomically and mentally. Being able to change locations helps me stay fresh and makes the day go by faster.

Having a top quality office space makes sense for everyone. It becomes a benefit to attract new people. It makes the people already there happier.

You’re spending 40+ hours a week in a place. Make sure it’s somewhere you like.

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