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Sorry to hear that your working environment has changed adversely. But I
must say, I'm surprised that your main beef is your new seating arrangement.
Going from a teleworking arrangement to a 90 minute commute every day --
that's a radical departure. (I presume you mean 90 mins each way?)
You ask: "I'm wondering if having a bit of privacy (in the way of a cubicle)
is generally a job requirement for most of you." Well, it's not one for me.
Sure, if I took a job and found that the working environment stank, I'd be
unhappy; but pleasant and productive work environments come in many forms. I
don't think it's presumptuous of an employer to buy one large table instead
of several smaller ones, or to ask the tech writers and programmers to
occupy identical spaces. But if your specific arangement isn't productive or
pleasant, that's far from ideal.
Your new space just might grow on you. Last year my company moved to a large
old brownstone with a small coach-house at its rear. My team (five
programmers and I) was assigned the coach-house (six desks, no cubes) and
initially we had serious misgivings. Now we love it. The main building has
high ceilings, period features, and max two people per room -- but it
overheats, and everyone else is up or down a flight of stairs. In the mean
time, my team has bonded well. If you asked us to move now: no way.
Natch, I don't know your job situation is -- how long you've been with this
company, the nature of your contract, the job market in Houston -- but
ceteris paribus, I think you're within your rights to talk with your boss
about the changes in your work routine and how to ameliorate them. However,
I'd bet you'll get more sympathy for the sudden commute than for the seating
arrangements. If the latter is the principal problem, pitch a solution based
on your need to cut down on external distraction. Otherwise, if you're
staying there, my advice is: buy a discman and some Bach CDs!
PS I've no info on workplace studies of the type you inquire about.
Recently, market forces required that my company transfer me to another
division of the company.
Now instead of working from home four days a week and taking a short bus
ride to a downtown office, I must commute 1.5 hours by bus or buy a car. (I
hate cars.) I also must report to work at the site all days of the week, as
this division does not allow home workers.
But the main kicker is the seating arrangment. The new location sits its
lone techwriter at a long table among the programmers. No cubicle and small
desk space. Possibly a file drawer, but no bookcases. Just the same amount
of work area that the programmers have. I find these accommodations
unpalatable. I'm wondering if having a bit of privacy (in the way of a
cubicle) is generally a job requirement for most of you. Does anyone know of
studies done with writers to show how their creativity is impacted by this
open and crowded environment? The manager of this situation, by the way,
thinks its great that his workers show their team spirit by such
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