Re: Do Technical Writers Deserve Their Own Office?

Subject: Re: Do Technical Writers Deserve Their Own Office?
From: Tracy Boyington <tracy_boyington -at- OKVOTECH -dot- ORG>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 09:49:21 -0500

>Our Documentation Group is having a hard time justifying
>private offices for technical writers to Product Development.
>We need some strong reasons to justify that we are different
>than developers and work more productively in a quiet working
>space, especially when we performing editing duties.

I don't think you'll be able to justify this. I don't see why writers
need quiet any more than developers. I'm not saying you don't need an
office, I just don't understand why you need it more than developers.

However, I also disagree with those who say it is impossible to
collaborate from an office. We recently moved from a building with some
offices and some dank windowless cubes to a building with all windowed
offices, and yet we are not working in isolation. We go to each other's
offices, we talk in the hall, we talk in the breakroom. Most of us leave
our doors open -- I could raise my voice and ask a question right now
and four people would hear and answer. Yet I could close my door for a
long conversation with my SME and not disturb anyone. I am not out of
the loop, but I am finally out of my neighbor's phone conversations, and
I like that. Obviously some lucky people *like* to work in cubicles, and
that's fine. But if the only way you can get the information you need is
to overhear it from the next cubicle, I think there are some
communication problems!

Maybe you should work on justifying private offices for *everybody.* But
since that's not likely either, I like the idea of a small conference
room where you can slip away for some quiet.

Tracy Boyington mailto:tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org
Oklahoma Dept. of Vocational & Technical Education
Stillwater, OK, USA

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