Open office environment should be like ‘Library’, not ‘Cafeteria’

The title is all I wanted to say, nothing more actually.

I’m not gonna argue whether an open office is better or not. Because It’s not my job to convince the decision makers of a company whether they should keep an open office environment or switch to cubicles. Maybe they find it useful because people can communicate easily. There is room for better collaboration, work on collective creativity etc. I’m ok with all of this. Want to keep an ‘Open office’? Fine, No problem at all.

But the thing is, we, the people who are working in this open office environment sometimes fail to realize the value of ‘concentration’ and ‘focused work’. We ignore the fact that a soft chatter from a corner of the room can distract someone. Someone can lose focus on his/her deep thought about solving a complex problem. A mind train can lose its’ track from going to a better place and end up in a wrong town.
We make noises, shout out loud, laugh out loud, make noises (yeah, we make noises a lot), our cellphones buzz — like it happen in a cafeteria all the time.

Why is that?

I believe It’s definitely possible to work in a noisy environment. But, as a software developer, the distracted mind of mine can’t hold the large context of the problem I’m solving and the tricky corner cases that I should handle in my code. Also, my frequently distracted mind might need to work on a feature for several hours which might need a lot less if I could’ve focused properly.
I know using a noise-canceling headphone might help me in this situation. But isn’t it suggesting a solution without addressing the actual problem? What if I say, I can’t read an article or write code while listening to songs? Another solution could be grabbing my laptop and move to a quiet room/corner of the office where I can gain my focus. Still, it’s not a good solution. If I need to move somewhere else to do the ‘work’, then what purpose the ‘workplace’ is serving?

So, what’s to do about it?

Did you see a library? A lot of people sit very close, do their job at a certain time. Still, the environment is so quiet, so peaceful. Can you, the same person who makes noise all the time at your workplace can do the same at a library? Do you keep your cell phone in the ‘silent mode’ in a library?


Don’t You know the reason.

I think we need to decide to maintain the same environment at our workplace too. It’s not that hard. All we need to do is address that the noises we make might disturb my co-workers. It forces someone to lose their concentration from some important work.

Do you need to discuss with team members? Keep it less loud or use a meeting room. Do you need to chit-chat and have a break? Use the cafeteria or some other places. Just don’t make the workplace noisy. That’s all I’m saying.

I know some might not agree with me. They might not feel the same about it. But that’s okay. I’m just sharing what I feel about it.

That’s all for now. 
Have a productive day! 🍻

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