Working remotely. Working in Open Spaces.
While my professional experience leans heavily to working with others remotely, I have worked with a team in an open office as well. Employing any of these office strategies comes down to more job function, the individual, and a sustainable company culture than it does picking one over the other.
One of the primary benefits of being in the same physical space is the higher likelihood of asynchronous conversations— both work and non-work— that just happen naturally. This builds relationships and trust that can be harder to establish, especially for some personality types. That said, who hasn't gotten caught at the microwave with a colleague and next thing you know 30 minutes just happened. I think remote is fine if the team embraces the appropriate cultural norms, efficient processes, and prioritizes getting together every now and again.
Open vs. Closed office spaces
Open concept offices seems to be all the rage, especially for younger companies or companies attempting to attract more creative talent. The best answer in, my humble opinion (informed a lot from friend Tim Syth), is two-fold.
- Step 1: Have a variety of space options.
- Step 2: Properly train people on how to use space. Yes, we need lessons is space use!
I found the following articles insightful on how to create a great company culture, intrinsically productive team, and a synergistic office space:
- Offices For All! Why Open-Office Layouts Are Bad For Employees, Bosses, And Productivity
- How to Create an Open Office that is More Awesome for Both Introverts and Extroverts
- Open Plan Offices Bad
- Cubicles are the Absolute Worst
- Quiet Spaces
- Why I ditched my Co-working Space
Somewhat off topic, but I love this parody of a group conference call: