Cube Crazy



  • So, I work in a cube farm. I hate it. I have always hated it but I put up with it because we can get a little quiet and get some work done with the aid of headphones. However, now they want to remove the top row of wall sections, making the cubes basically head-high. Manager's reason for this? "So we don't have to shout over the walls at each other" - which is something I don't really do. So, I'm facing the total destruction of whatever peaceful work environment I had left, for the benefit of one team member. Yes my resume is up to date. This is just another thing in a long series of straws on our backs here. And it's a real shame because I love this company and their mission. I just don't know what to do - complaining doesn't seem to matter. How can a person want to implement something that helps nobody?



  • @jasmine2501 said:

    So, I work in a cube farm. I hate it. I have always hated it but I put up with it because we can get a little quiet and get some work done with the aid of headphones. However, now they want to remove the top row of wall sections, making the cubes basically head-high. Manager's reason for this? "So we don't have to shout over the walls at each other" - which is something I don't really do. So, I'm facing the total destruction of whatever peaceful work environment I had left, for the benefit of one team member. Yes my resume is up to date. This is just another thing in a long series of straws on our backs here. And it's a real shame because I love this company and their mission. I just don't know what to do - complaining doesn't seem to matter. How can a person want to implement something that helps nobody?

    The same thing happened to my workplace a few years back, but instead of removing the top panels they replaced them with glass so people could see each other and feel like "a team". This is the kind of strategy that is designed by people having an office (like HR). Of course if their job description did not force them to have all those confidential discussions they would looooooove to work in a cube.



  •  My belief has always been no person should ever be allowed to make a policy decision that they themselves don't have to adhere to.



  • @jasmine2501 said:

    So, I work in a cube farm. I hate it. I have always hated it but I put up with it because we can get a little quiet and get some work done with the aid of headphones. However, now they want to remove the top row of wall sections, making the cubes basically head-high. Manager's reason for this? "So we don't have to shout over the walls at each other" - which is something I don't really do. So, I'm facing the total destruction of whatever peaceful work environment I had left, for the benefit of one team member. Yes my resume is up to date. This is just another thing in a long series of straws on our backs here. And it's a real shame because I love this company and their mission. I just don't know what to do - complaining doesn't seem to matter. How can a person want to implement something that helps nobody?
     

     

    I can't find it right now, but there is some valid study - look up Peopleware as they call it 'Flow time'.  If i remeber correctly even cubes destroy long term concentration in 99.99% of most people, and IMHO software engineering NEEDS concentration in at least 1.5 hour spans to get ANY productive work done.

     something like Environment factor = uninterrupted hours / Body present hours.




  • They did something like that to us at my last job (shortening height of cubicles). It sucked, but I managed to wrangle a fairly large whiteboard, and I wedged it against the wall facing most of the noise. It made a decent baffle.If you have the room and they don't prohibit you from doing it, it may be worth a try.



  • Suggest to them that, if that's the problem being solved here, it would be much less expensive, both in terms of work to remove the cubicle walls and in terms of lost productivity, to simply have everyone sign up for an account on (insert IM service here).



  •  Our new office from a few months ago had some leftover material, including cubicle walls.

     "These are the first to go." we all instantly agreed.



  • @Master Chief said:

     My belief has always been no person should ever be allowed to make a policy decision that they themselves don't have to adhere to.

    It sucks when The Benevolent Authorities do this, but it's even worse when it's done by peers. There is nothing as unpleasant as joining an union where members voted orphan clauses in their labor contract...



  • I've been in various forms of bullpen (open seating in a ring, low cube walls, or peninsulas) for the past 6 years or so. I recently got moved to a high-walled cube in the corner, and it sucks. The moral is, I think, people don't like change from what they're accustomed to.

    My brother quit a job after one day because it was an open office plan with engineers sitting next to sales people making cold-calls. He's an idiot, but that is a little understandable. 



  • @tafinucane said:

    My brother quit a job after one day because it was an open office plan with engineers sitting next to sales people making cold-calls. He's an idiot, but that is a little understandable.

    I turned down an (otherwise) great job because they used Lotus Notes for email. Am I an idiot?

    You gotta have priorities.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Am I an idiot?

    Yes



  • @tafinucane said:

    an open office plan with engineers sitting next to sales people making cold-calls.
     

    This should never happen and is distinct from the cubicle-problem.

     

     

     

     

    engineers making cold calls, I mean



  • My feeling is that when management is making decisions about such stupid things, it's an indication that something much bigger is wrong. What's the phrase? "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?" That's what they're doing. Get out before it becomes a stain on your resume.



  • @jasmine2501 said:

    So, I work in a cube farm. I hate it. I have always hated it but I put up with it because we can get a little quiet and get some work done with the aid of headphones. However, now they want to remove the top row of wall sections, making the cubes basically head-high. Manager's reason for this? "So we don't have to shout over the walls at each other" - which is something I don't really do. So, I'm facing the total destruction of whatever peaceful work environment I had left, for the benefit of one team member. Yes my resume is up to date. This is just another thing in a long series of straws on our backs here. And it's a real shame because I love this company and their mission. I just don't know what to do - complaining doesn't seem to matter. How can a person want to implement something that helps nobody?

    I don't know, I think that you might be jumping the gun a little bit here. I'm not suggesting that you're wrong for disliking the idea, but rather that maybe you should give it a little time to see how you feel about the actual change. You may like, you may not. If you don't really like it, and you feel that it's destroying your productivity and/or morale, and talking to the higher-ups about it doesn't work, then you should look for a new job. If there is one thing that I've learned in my professional career it is that, like shit, change happens. If you up and leave an otherwise perfectly good job every time something changed, then you'd have a shitty resume. Just my one cent.



  • I'm just gonna quit. The attitude of not even caring about my complaint is what's really pissing me off. I'm being treated like I don't matter at all, and that's unacceptable.



  • 'suppose at least engage a discussion forum instead of everyone bending over and taking it.

     In the UK, high cube walls is pretty much a green flag from your employer that they endorse masturbation at work, the odd can of larger and a few hours catch up on the cricket.



  • @dcardani said:

    My feeling is that when management is making decisions about such stupid things, it's an indication that something much bigger is wrong. What's the phrase? "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?" That's what they're doing. Get out before it becomes a stain on your resume.

    A friend of mine works in a place where they removed all the top panels of a bunch of cubes, but not for everyone. They said the usual (it is for team spirit) but my friend found out that it was because a manager wanted to see all her "people" from her office and the top panels were in the way.



  • @jasmine2501 said:

    I'm just gonna quit. The attitude of not even caring about my complaint is what's really pissing me off. I'm being treated like I don't matter at all, and that's unacceptable.

     

    Get a new job first that you actually want or you may up in a worse hell.



  •  @thistooshallpass said:

    @dcardani said:
    My feeling is that when management is making decisions about such stupid things, it's an indication that something much bigger is wrong. What's the phrase? "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?" That's what they're doing. Get out before it becomes a stain on your resume.

    A friend of mine works in a place where they removed all the top panels of a bunch of cubes, but not for everyone. They said the usual (it is for team spirit) but my friend found out that it was because a manager wanted to see all her "people" from her office and the top panels were in the way.

    Damn.  I thought it was bad when they got rid of our big, modular-wall cubes and replaced them with newer (from 1996 instead of 1973) and smaller pod-style cubes.  Now I have no back wall and I sit right on a busy hallway, but at least I don't have to see the guy next to me every time I look up from my screen.  I can, however, identify people by their footsteps now.



  • @thistooshallpass said:

    @dcardani said:
    My feeling is that when management is making decisions about such stupid things, it's an indication that something much bigger is wrong. What's the phrase? "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?" That's what they're doing. Get out before it becomes a stain on your resume.

    A friend of mine works in a place where they removed all the top panels of a bunch of cubes, but not for everyone. They said the usual (it is for team spirit) but my friend found out that it was because a manager wanted to see all her "people" from her office and the top panels were in the way.

    That is exactly it. HE doesn't want to shout over the walls at people but he doesn't give a fuck what the rest of us need. He is never at his desk anyway and won't be able to take advantage of this change in the first place. It's a net loss for everybody. And this is in the middle of a big nasty upgrade which never goes well. It's fucking bull shit.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @tafinucane said:
    My brother quit a job after one day because it was an open office plan with engineers sitting next to sales people making cold-calls. He's an idiot, but that is a little understandable.

    I turned down an (otherwise) great job because they used Lotus Notes for email. Am I an idiot?

    You gotta have priorities.

     

    If successfully sending email is a priority, then using Lotus Notes is definitely out of the question.

     



  • @operagost said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @tafinucane said:
    My brother quit a job after one day because it was an open office plan with engineers sitting next to sales people making cold-calls. He's an idiot, but that is a little understandable.

    I turned down an (otherwise) great job because they used Lotus Notes for email. Am I an idiot?

    You gotta have priorities.

     

    If successfully sending email is a priority, then using Lotus Notes is definitely out of the question.

     

    Try Novell GroupWise. Then you'll see how awesome Lotus Notes is. But none of those products have the coolest feature of Outlook: a "forward to boss" button in the toolbar, which is configured automagically via the AD/Exchange integration.



  • I've worked in a place where we had complete open space, no walls at all. Just a big floor with a couple of long tables (besides the ceiling, surrounding four walls and supporting columns, obviously). But when people needed to talk to each other they either were already sitting at the same table and therefore would talk normally, or they would walk over to the person they wanted to talk too, or — amazing feat of technology — they would communicate through instant messaging.

    I've also worked at a couple of places with cubicles (if you can call them that) ending just below eye level. One of them was a big company. The floor I was in housed people of all sorts of functions and the sound of people talking and phones ringing was nearly continuous. Also, sometimes a girl nearby would sing to the song she was playing through her loudspeakers; (though, admittedly, she sang reasonably well and not loud enough to disturb too much, which is why it was tolerated).
    The other place was a small business where our sales rep would sometimes be kicking a football while idle, or where my colleagues would toss foam trinkets at each other for attention.

    Last place I worked was a refurbished residential building. We worked in rooms with at most 5 people, and these rooms were divided by thick, sound-resistant brick walls, or even corridors, not to mention being spread along different floors/stories.

    Of all these places, the one where I had the most trouble concentrating was the last one. This is because there was a couple of people who would sometimes come in loudly through the door behind me, more often than not talking loudly to announce themselves or to require the immediate attention they obviously needed and deserved. Due to the nature of the work I was doing, I was never the intended target of their voices, but that made absolutely no difference. The fact I didn't particularly love the work I was doing, nor hate it with a passion, didn't help.

    What I mean by all this is: it's not the walls, or the lack thereof, that make or break your concentration. It's the people you work with and the work that you do.
    Get noise cancelling headphones.



  • That is a good point, but it's visual distractions I'm worried about.



  • @jasmine2501 said:

    That is a good point, but it's visual distractions I'm worried about.
     

    Get a hat with a bill on it.  My cube walls are just taller than my monitors so I've got a view of everyone walking past (next to a hall/walk way) but put on my newsboy and all I see going bottom to top is keyboard, monitors, hatbill.



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    have everyone sign up for an account on (insert IM service here).

    In our office, we use Spark, which is run on an internal server. Works pretty well.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    I turned down an (otherwise) great job because they used Lotus Notes for email. Am I an idiot?

    You gotta have priorities.

    I've done similar at least once. HR goon replied to my initial inquiry with a "Sent by lotus notes!" or whatever in their signature. Binned that shit immediately.


  • @locallunatic said:

    @jasmine2501 said:

    That is a good point, but it's visual distractions I'm worried about.
     

    Get a hat with a bill on it.  My cube walls are just taller than my monitors so I've got a view of everyone walking past (next to a hall/walk way) but put on my newsboy and all I see going bottom to top is keyboard, monitors, hatbill.

    I considered getting a giant traffic-cone-orange helmet, and maybe building some blinders out of some airplane parts or something I have around the house. Anything to protest. I updated my resume last night and submitted two applications, and my phone is ringing off the hook today. People like me are in demand, and we don't have to take this disrespect. Anyone else in a similar situation should keep that in mind.



  • @jasmine2501 said:

    People like me are in demand, and we don't have to take this disrespect.

    You wouldn't believe my working conditions. No cube, no office with a door. The guy sitting next to me plays games and watches youtube all day. Plus he regularly drops his Cheerios on the floor. It was only a few months ago that I'm not responsible for taking out the garbage.



  • @snoofle said:

    They did something like that to us at my last job (shortening height of cubicles). It sucked, but I managed to wrangle a fairly large whiteboard, and I wedged it against the wall facing most of the noise. It made a decent baffle.If you have the room and they don't prohibit you from doing it, it may be worth a try.

     

     

    I have that now, and i assure you nothing can dampen the sound of the dude in an office with his door open 100% of the time talking about footbal as it relates to his sales calls. Makes me want to rip hair out.

     


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