I’ve recently read this article and it really resonated with me as I have spent the best part of the last 17 years working in a cube farm. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all Here’s two of my favourite parts of the article.
“What distinguished programmers at the top-performing companies wasn’t greater experience or better pay. It was how much privacy, personal workspace and freedom from interruption they enjoyed. Sixty-two percent of the best performers said their workspace was sufficiently private compared with only 19 percent of the worst performers. Seventy-six percent of the worst programmers but only 38 percent of the best said that they were often interrupted needlessly.” “But even if the problems are different, human nature remains the same. And most humans have two contradictory impulses: we love and need one another, yet we crave privacy and autonomy.”
I think this applies a lot to the engineering role in Support at Microsoft. We need to be in a team environment where we can communicate and collaborate but equally we need time in solitude to read a log file, debug a dump file or just read the documentation. My broadband wasn’t working for me for a couple of weeks and it meant I had to adapt to maybe working on email for 45 minutes in Starbucks instead of spending all of my time in the office. So it is theoretically possible to do at least some of the Support Engineer role outside of the work office or the home office.