Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Office Redesign

Following a link from Stack Overflow's blog on Microsoft's new research lab got me thinking more about how important it is for developers and the rest of the business world really, to have offices designed to help them be more productive.

I work for IBM and I can attest to how drab, corporate office designs can start to get to you after a while. While my office building is no Intel office layout, it was definitely designed with space efficiency in mind, not for those who are going to be working there.

I first read about how important office design is from Peopleware back in school and it has really stuck with me. Peopleware suggests that its more important that offices are designed for the developers than for space efficiency. Programming is a creative effort and it is very important to create an environment that caters to the developers. After reading Peopleware I have become much more aware of the change major companies such as Google, Intel, and Microsoft have begun to take heed of their developers and actually design spaces to spur creativity and team building.

A few changes I've begun to see in modern office designs:
  • Open Space
  • Individual Offices
  • Whiteboards everywhere
  • Reconfigurable spaces
  • Natural Lighting
  • Collaborative Spaces
It is really exciting to see that large software companies begin to design offices with actual human being in mind instead of mindless corporate drones of years prior. This isn't just for crazy smaller sized companies with office fetishes anymore. I hope to see more design that focuses on attention to detail that Microsoft's new office design and Joel Spolsky's Fog Creek office design.

After watching the Microsoft research office video, I feel like I might have some more energy talking about office layout. So this is it for now, but keep your eyes out for more articles on office layout and design in the future.

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