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Admitting I was wrong – Workplace 2.0 — 4 Comments

  1. My federal government office is about to go to workplace 2.0 within six months. And I can tell you that after 20 years of working in a cubicle, that I am dreading the lack of privacy. Everything else about it sounds great, and I don’t even mind the smaller space but as an introvert who is very easily distracted by people walking by my cubicle, chatter and heavy perfume use, I am not sure I am going to make it LOL. In fact to be honest it keeps me up at night. It sounds great for the majority of people who are extroverted social animals. But as usual, the introverted are being expected to just stop being themselves for he majority of their day. Anything you can tell me to ease my fear of this would help a great deal.

    • So I am an introvert by nature, and prefer to send email to people rather than go to their desk. But I’m also a manager in an area that requires a fair amount of interaction and coordination with others, so I have to fight those tendencies. Given a choice between tall walls, or short walls, I would have said I only like tall walls. I hate having my back to the door but am distracted by people walking by. Much of the same thing you said.

      But like my post said, even with those “fears”, the issue isn’t whether 2.0 is good or bad but whether you get good 2.0 or bad 2.0. Bad 2.0 is all the bad elements like low walls, small cubicles, no privacy without the corresponding side of good 2.0 of lots of meeting space, white noise, bright light, and 100% better ventilation.

      The “walking by” part depends a lot on how tall you are. My wife, when she’s in her cubicle, I can’t even tell until I’m practically to her cubicle because she’s 5’6″, a little taller than average, and when sitting down or working away, you can’t see her head. So you don’t see anyone “walking by” unless they’re walking right by your cubicle. And the aisles tend to be a bit wider than normal too so not same as old cubicles. Do you notice? Yes. Is it bad? No. Even for introverts.

      The noise doesn’t carry, so honestly, with proper noise baffles, you get WAY LESS noise than was in the tall cubicles that had zero noise blockage. It was always an illusion, just as you knew when your neighbor was fighting on teh phone with their spouse and thought “nobody could hear”.

      So far, just about everyone I have met who complains about 2.0 is either in a bad 2.0 setup, OR they happen to have lost the layout lottery and are near a fridge or a photocopier or a printer or an open collaborative space. Or in the new layout went from being at the end of a cubicle farm and nobody came near them to now being right on a main thoroughfare. It’s not the 1.0 vs. 2.0 problem, it’s where theyr’e sitting.

      For everyone else, their initial reactions for the first six months are all positive, *if* it is real 2.0. I’m not kidding, or blowing smoke. The majority of the people in the modern 2.0+ layout tend to like ALL of it except a lack of storage space. And with lower heights, long coats are a pain to hang up anywhere.

      But if they don’t modify ventilation or sound, and don’t give you the new “spaces” for collaboration or just to eat lunch, then it isn’t true 2.0, it’s just a smaller cubicle and it sucks.

      Good luck!

      P.

  2. So … COVID-19, social/physical distancing the norm, flu season, smokers and their after-break odor, Ottawa winter clothing and footwear, sensitive or confidential phone conversations, rude work-neighbours, etc. ????

    • Interesting issues but most don’t change much from my post almost 2 years ago, in my view.

      For example:

      – smokers / odours / rude work neighbours have nothing to do with 2.0 or the new hoteling under 3.0…they’ve always been an issue and are just about working close to anyone…there’s a legal case that went through from someone with really stinky feet next to a neighbour and they were in the old high-wall cubicles, not 2.0;
      – for phone conversations, you’re not supposed to have sensitive or confidential ones at your desk under any config, you’re supposed to go to a phone room or an office. This is actually better under 2.0 because it is now obvious — before, people would discuss personal info in their larger cubicle thinking it was totally okay, meanwhile, the person next to you hears everything anyway;
      – clothing and footwear are issues, as noted, that you have limited space to put anything; and,
      – flu season is a known issue, which is why proper 2.0 has improved ventilation, updrafts, etc. and they increased the amount of hand sanitizer on most floors about the same time…interestingly, the stats are confused on this because people are discouraged from meeting in their cubicles or near their cubicles so people aren’t hanging out touching desks and cubicles of sick people vs. being closer to people;

      The new issues of social distancing and COVID 19 will be a challenge for people to handle, and may in fact result in floors having to temporarily stagger workers i.e., people in cubicles 1,3,5,7 can work 8-2 and 2,4,6,8 will work 2-8 or something. Or more likely, they say 1,3,5,7 will work M/W/F this week in the office and 2,4,6,8 will work TTM or one week on, one week off, and the rest of the time at home. Offices are going to put a lot of pressure on public health officials to say that 5′ social distance or 4.5′ social distance is enough which would allow cubicle farms to work but to minimize meetings to less than 5. Right up until someone gets sick in a cubicle farm. Nobody planned offices and ergo spaces for this type of pandemic…

      Paul

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