Offices Are For The Weak At Sun

from the the-O-in-Old-Economy dept

I remember a while back when the Chiat/Day officeless-office was what everyone was talking about. The idea was to increase creativity by removing the same bland 4 cubicle walls you looked at every day. You had a locker, and would take your laptop out each day and then just wander around the building until you found a place you wanted to work that day. They redesigned the building and put funky chairs and couches all over the place. It’s been a while since I heard anything about it, so I have no idea if it’s still how things are done there. However, Sun Microsystems appears to be trying to do the same thing, in a slightly more corporate fashion. They’re trying to get half of their employees floating through officeless offices. They simply need to sit down at any identical desk, swipe their ID card, and all of their information is accessible. Sun believes it will save money, as well as keep employees who don’t always want to commute long distances to their assigned office. While I can see this working to some extent, I think it could cause problems with a company as large as Sun. Part of the reason you have everyone at an assigned place is so you talk face-to-face more often, and find who you’re looking for more easily.

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Comments on “Offices Are For The Weak At Sun”

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Timaaay! says:

Chiat Day

I bet this will work as well as the chiat-day idea did. People like to have stuff on there desk. It turns out the CEO at Chiat day who came up with the idea lived in a house with no furniture. My favorite quote from the Wired article on the chiat day fiasco was the manager who took over a meeting room and left a note on the door: “This is my office till they fire me.”

xdroop (user link) says:

Won't Work

While it may save money, and it makes sense for workers who are only in the office on a casual basis, I think it will lead to some morale problems down the road.

I changed jobs about six months ago, moving from a stable and secure (ish) job in a corporate cube farm. I had my own cube, computers, desk (even a window — after five years I was one of the blessed). Now I’m a visiting contractor, meaning I parachute into customer sites for a period of time ranging from an hour to several months. Usually I am rotating around several sites at any given time. Naturally, these companies I am visiting are not going to be assigning permanent space for me — I get all the benefits of hotelling.

Thing is, I find myself really missing having a desk of my own. I have to carry everything I will need in a laptop bag to and from work every day (which makes one a lot more picky about what one really needs), but what is missing is the sense of belonging, of being an important part of what is going on. This is represented by having a permanent place in the office where you can stick your papers and photos of your spouce and the mandatory stuffed-animal gift from your child. I don’t have any of that any more and I miss it.

OfficeMan says:

Re: Won't Work

(Most) People need the security of a fixed point and their own space. The Hawthorn effect guarantees this will appear to work for a few months, but then people will start to hate it and start to colonise particular spots until everyone has their own place again. (And a pecking order will be established too) You will see people arrive at work earlier and earlier in order to gurantee “their” spot.

Stupid, stupid idea

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