From Office to Cubicle

One of the developers from another team leaned over my cube wall this morning and very bluntly asked:

So, why are you in a cubicle?

Given that it was 7:30 in the morning and no one else was around this was a bit jarring. I retorted that I moved out to the cubicle to make it easier to work with my team pairing up and helping with writing unit tests. That answer probably puzzled the developer a bit, and in truth there are quite a few reasons:

  • I always felt just a bit uncomfortable in an office. I remember being shocked having an office at first since I’ve managed from cubes or even tables on all my former jobs. It just still feels just the smallest bit elitist to be sitting in an office.
  • I do really want to be available to help with test infecting my staff.
  • When you’re out in the cube farm you overhear and see a lot that you miss from behind a wall.
  • My office has become more of a true project room, primarily used for standup meetings.
  • People can visually see if you’re available and get answers faster. I overheard a conversation the other day that an employee wished there was a green and red light over her manager’s office so she could tell when they were available without slogging over and peeking in the door.

Of course the downside of all of this is you’re probably interrupted more, but at the end of the day those interruptions are primarily from your own staff. And a manager’s primary job is to grow and serve their employees. At some point my goal is to get everyone on my team proactive and self sufficient enough that I pretty much eliminate the need for my position.

Since I moved out to the cubes about two months ago managers, PMs, admins, and others still express surprise that I wanted to move out onto the floor. I think for a whole lot of people an office with a door is still a very desired perk. Some of this may also be that I grew up with four other rowdy brothers so being in a busy, noisy environment and still being able to concentrate is something I take for granted.