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Traditional Offices Kill Creativity

10.09.2012
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Office space is something many companies don’t get.

Sure, you should have a wide table, a comfortable chair and a fast workstation. But that is not the goal of the modern office. You can have this all at home. The real goal of the office is to enforce communication. Creative work doesn’t happen at your desk, as you should already know.

A good office setup enforces communication. It has many places where people can sit and chat. It has many whiteboards and cork-boards. It has comfortable meeting rooms, a kitchen, a shower, coffee machines, a bar and a sports room. You are here to meet people and to talk to them face-to-face.

Traditional office kills creativity.

Our new office is different. It is designed to help people meet and talk.

Published at DZone with permission of Michael Dubakov, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Mihai Dinca - P... replied on Tue, 2012/10/09 - 8:49am

It's funny that the legend "Places where new ideas are born" is a circle :)  And your office is made of three big circles. :) Your office seems to be the universal center of "new ideas".

It's good to have alot of meeting unoccupied areas , otherwise you risk to schedule your meetings next day.

But I guess the office it's not the problem, but the mass of people: the more people , the more noise, the less concentration.

Christopher Wong replied on Tue, 2012/10/09 - 10:10am

What you call a "good office", I see as a nightmare. The goal of an office is to get work done. Converting the work day into an all-day meeting is not going to get much accomplished. My thoughts on the subject here:

Neil Green replied on Tue, 2012/10/09 - 10:44am

I have no doubt the author finds traditional office layout intellectually stifling.  I also doubt everyone who sits in a traditional office layout is incapable of being creative.  

Because the company who hires me might put me in a cubicle, in an open layout, next to a window, next to the break room, under an air-conditioning vent, next to a office plant, or facing north, I try not to let my environment affect my ability to be creative. 

This, to me at least, is what it means to be a professional.

John Piersol replied on Tue, 2012/10/09 - 7:03pm

 

Maybe the author should see what ACTUALLY works by looking at a study or two. Your diagram there looks like a big productivity killer. My understanding is that studies done during the dot com boom showed that open offices are much less productive then quite office space. A place where you can leave your door open most of the time but when your really being productive can close the door. All my experience (having worked in both environments) backs that up. Maybe new studies contradict that now but... you haven't sited any. Of course I haven't sited any either.

I don't mind a company trying to make cool office spaces or trying to save a buck. Some times things don't always turn out as planned, like the open office craze, but thats cool. A for effort. However, I really hate companies that pretend they've made the best office space for productivity and don't have anything to back it up with but the infamous I know best rhetoric. Building open office space in the 90s showed forward thinking, building it now shows contempt of statistics.

 

Arul Kumaran replied on Tue, 2012/10/09 - 10:01pm

I don't agree with this. It is more to do with the team culture and the management style.

Lund Wolfe replied on Sat, 2012/10/13 - 7:21pm

Creative/ingenious outside-the-box solutions are often hard to conjure up on demand or through heavy concentration.  They often arrive unannounced.  A comfortable group layout may be best to brainstorm when two heads are better than one and multiple people bring skills and knowledge to the table.  Once past the can, how, and should be done stage, though, I think a quiet and professional environment is the best and most efficient way to make it a reality.

The environment needs to be suited to the company culture, it's people, and what seems on average to work best for them.

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