Larry Osterman's WebLog

Confessions of an Old Fogey
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Moving Offices

Moving Offices

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Well, last week, we had yet another office move.

Office moves are sort-of a tradition at Microsoft, this one's something like my 20th.  Personally I think that management schedules them just to make sure we don't collect too much junk in our offices... 

For me, it doesn't help, I moved 14 boxes of stuff this time (and a boatload of legos that were stashed in my grandmanagers office).

As I said, moving's a regular occurrence - I'm in my 4th office in this building alone.  Fortunately, intra-building moves aren't NEARLY as painful as inter-building moves, but they're still a pain in the neck.

My longest time in an office was something like two years, my shortest was 2 weeks (they moved us out of building one into building four for two weeks while they moved another group out of building two, then moved us from building four back into building two).  I've had corner offices (twice, once in building two, another time in 25), I've had window offices and I've had interior offices.  I've got to say that I REALLY hate corner offices - my office has a whiteboard, a corkboard and two bookshelves, but in a corner office, you lose one of your walls, which means that you can only have two of the 4 items (we have modular shelving and corkboard units in our offices, in an interior office, you get two walls full of hanging shelving racks, in a corner office, you only get one, plus a partial one).  The great view doesn't even come close to making up for the loss of a bookshelf.  In my case, one of my bookshelves is filled with lego models, but who's counting :)

I can't wait to see the view from my new office though - it faces more-or-less northeast, which means that I get to see the Cascades.  I took the opportunity to reorient my office as well - traditionally, I have had my office laid out like this:

But I'm laying my new office out like this:

just to take advantage of the view (Ignore the units, they're Visio goop from when I made the drawing).  I like facing the door (so I can see who's coming), but I figured that the view would be worth the startle effect.  I suspect I'll end up getting a mirror to put into the window so I can see people at the door...  The cool thing about the new layout is that I'll be able to add a round table to the office, so I'll be able to get the manipulative puzzles off my main desk onto the round table.

Unfortunately, this morning, just before came into work to unpack, the fan motor on the AC blower feeding into my office gave up the ghost, filling the office (and the corridor) with REALLY noxious fumes, so I'm currently installed in an empty office near my office (I'd forgotten how heavy a 21 inch CRT monitor is).

Anyway, today's tech-light, hopefully I'll get bandwidth to do more tomorrow.

Edit: Clarified text around new office layout, it was awkwards.

 

  • You guys still have CRTs? Even for backup offices, that's... odd. Desk space is office space, office space is land, and land is expensive, compared to a LCD. (Can you tell how much I want an LCD?)
    Is it possible that they're moving you around on the theory that useful meetings always take place when people are hanging around, not when they're in the schedule, so your office should be close to the offices of the people They want you hanging out with? (That is, did that set of people change recently?)
    That, or just that shaking things up every now and again is a good way to reinvigorate...
    (Oh, and FIRST POST!)
  • (I'd forgotten how heavy a 21 inch CRT monitor is).
    Glad to see I'm not the only one still using CRT's. We generally re-new our development machines/monitors every 3 years (with the latest/state of the art processors).
    But this year, I just couldn't face swapping my CRT, for a brand new flat screen.
  • Backup offices? Um I picked up my main monitor and carried it into the office. Yes, we still use CRTs.

    Actually I've got two - one 21" and a 19" NEC multisync monitor - it's still quite reasonable so...

    Ain't no reason to spend money if we don't have to - when these monitors die, I'll get new ones.
  • So you want to have sun shining in your eyes. That should be stressfull (assuming seattle gets sunshine that is)
  • I put toweles over my window in the afternoon and I'm in a seperate room to the western window (but can still see out the window through a doorway). My pupils are small from the afternoon sun (after 4pm) and I can't really see anything inside.
  • Actually it should be ok (I don't yet know).

    My most recent offices faced west, which meant they got full-on sunsets. Which is pretty horrible and meant I kept my blinds down tight to avoid the glare on my screens.

    The new office shouldn't get direct sunlight after about 9:00ish in the morning (depending on the time of year, I'll have to see how it plays out).
  • One of your walls has a door in it. Subtract that wall and subtract that door so it's just open space between your office and the adjacent office. Divide your desk 60% and 40% into two pieces near the walls, with two people and PC's on the 40% desk, two people plus PC's plus printer plus Linux server on the 60% desk. Add another desk (20%) near the open space for your manager plus PC. By the way, land here costs less than half of land in central Tokyo, but the size of the arrangements is par for the course.

    Japan does get a lot of sun though. In fact, even though it's nearly winter and even though we keep the blinds mostly closed, in midday we have to open the windows a bit to let out the heat from the combination of PCs plus sunlight. Hmm, our office faces south. I guess other departments don't have to open their windows a bit.
  • Norman,
    I LIKE my privacy. I'm a HORRIBLE office-mate, people hate my choice of tunes, it's just easier this way :)

    And I really like the fact that I don't have to be in a cubicle, and instead have an entire office for myself, even if it IS wasteful of space.

  • I really wish I had my own office sometimes. It would reduce the arguments about temperature and cooling. One of my colleagues insists on turning on his fan if the temperature rises above 19 C, and he has this horrible rattling noisy fan which really tries my patience, and I've just realised I've left my Creative Jukebox at home, so if he starts it up today I'll have no defence.

    The other thing about shared offices is that if someone comes in to talk to one of the four of us, it disrupts everyone, and it is far too easy to shout across the room and ask for some simple advice that could have been found in two minutes on MSDN, thus breaking the concentration of the innocent programmer who got asked.
  • Guenter,
    I accidentally deleted your comment during a purge of comment spam, would you mind posting it again? Sorryabout that.

  • "they moved us out of building one into building four for two weeks while they moved another group out of building two, then moved us from building four back into building two"

    Don't they know you can exchange two variables without another temporary one, just by XORing them a bit? :o)
  • When I started getting cubes with my back to the door, I found a Boba Fett figure with a motion sensor in his belt. Anytime someone would come in, Boba would shoot them with his laser, letting me know some rebel scum had entered my lair. :)
  • Larry - I'm with you on the privacy thing. I'm very mammalian when it comes to things like territory - and sharing an office just doesn't work. My productivity shoots through the floor.
  • So what sort of music do you like? It can't be that bad... unless of course it's country or western or Beach Boys or ... ;)

    Give us the goss!
  • I tend towards showtunes and jazz, with some progressive rock thrown in - it's rather a melange.
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