In my first 'professional' job (after I left the government), we all had offices with doors that opened into a central common area. Quiet, heads down time when needed, and a central brainstorming arena to handle the bigger, team-aligned issues. We were a staff of 5 supporting 3000 users with all types of requests including sysadmin, programming, security, etc. Now I doubt we were an exceptional group of people, but we succeeded in that environment to the point that software vendors for the products we supported were asking us for advice and support.
Unfortunately, I made the decision to relocate for family reasons and have never again been in such a productive environment. Where I am now in a cubicle farm, I have the joy of sitting in on 8 or 10 conference calls per day without ever picking up the phone, for the sixth time I'm reliving one lady's ongoing drama about her vacation from hell, and I'm being constantly reminded that this is a strong allergy season in this area. The only good thing about cubicles is that I am fully cognizant of what is going on in all the latest reality shows without having to waste a serious part of my evening watching them.
Frankly, I think cubicles are a serious insult to an experienced professional - have you ever noticed how the people in charge of assigning space somehow or another justify an office for themselves? Anybody who says serious technical work can be accomplished in a cube farm has never tried to work in one!
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