Main Nav

We are in the design stages of a new building on our campus which will contain one floor for some IT staff.  There will be about 34 IT individuals housed on this floor.  Titles represented on this floor will be Programmers, System Analysts, Application Architect, and Business Analysts.  There will be no administrative/support staff on this floor.   

 

I would be interested in what type of workspace is provided at other campuses for IT professionals of this type.  Most of our existing workspaces are private offices as this is how most older building were designed.  It seems there is a trend to gain flexibility in workspace design for our new buildings on campus, thus discussions about more of an open work environment containing cubicles or partial “movable” walls that do not go to the ceiling. 

 

My initial reaction to this type of work environment is that it will be counterproductive for most IT professionals as it would increase distractions and disruptions that hinder employee concentration and that we need to provide acoustically sound work environments that provide appropriate levels of privacy.

 

What has been your experience?

 

Randy Putt

University of Arkansas

Associate Director IT Services

 

 

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

We have recently gone through the process of renovations/moves.

Our general layout is as follows:

 

System administrators: share an open workspace, no cubicles, comfortable personal space.  Guesstimate 20 people

Network administrators: share an open workspace, no cubicles, comfortable personal space. Guesstimate 7 people, 3-4 of which are mostly in the field

System programmers/analysts: individual offices.

Service desk supervisors and agents: share an open workspace, no cubicles. 4 f/t supervisors with primary desks and ~14 rotating agent desks

Administrative: individual offices

Application packagers/deployment: individual offices for our f/t staff, shared offices for p/t students, usually 2 in an office at a time.

Web development: individual offices for f/t staff and shared for p/t students, ~2/office.

Desktop support: open area for all tech bench and technician workstations, the 2 supervisors opted to have a single cubicle surround them.

 

Both our system and network administrators and the service desk had a choice in whether to be in an open workspace environment.  They were in a similar environment before, and chose to stick with the layout when they recently had the choice during new moves/etc.  Based on feedback I’ve heard, they stick with their decision and feel they are more productive and communicative; especially in times of system failure when immediate communication is beneficial.

 

Based on my personal experience in working in an open environment with cubicles, our cubicles were pointless and hindered communication; the area (Service Desk) that had them, opted to now have no cubicles when they moved.  The cubicles did not block sound and made you feel like you had to shout to speak to someone next to you in a different cubicle.  There was no eye contact, so I found myself many times leaving my desk and walking less than 10 feet to carry a conversation.

 

I don’t think having many functional areas in one open environment would be wise given a wide range of activity that would be happening, but it has seemed to work well having targeted functional areas in a single open environment.

 

I also feel that an open environment can reduce the amount of wandering activity on the computer, as there is more peer-to-peer governance…however on the contrary, it also makes it easy to share that wandering activity (we had a police chase in Houston a while back, and it was quickly watched at one of the workstations).

 

Let me know if you’d like to be put in contact with some of the people in the open environment, I’m sure they can give you better justification as to why they chose to stick with the open environment without cubicles.  As of now I am in an office.

 

 

Zac Braaksma

zacbraak@shsu.edu

936.294.3247

Technology Support Coordinator I, Technology Asset Management

Office of Information Technology Services

Sam Houston State University

 

IT@Sam

Communicate + Collaborate

 

  twitter.com/SHSUServiceDesk

  facebook.com/SHSUServiceDesk

  http://shsuservicedesk.wordpress.com

 

Hi Randy --

While I was at Stanford we moved my staff into new space that was mainly open cubes and it had no windows! This isn't quite you situation, but I thought I'd share my story. The staff actually liked the open work spaces, but the rest of it was not so inviting. Below is an update that I sent to some fellow colleagues on what worked well. The key was to involve the staff ;-) ... of course.

Jenn

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jenn Stringer <jenn.stringer@nyu.edu>
Date: Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 9:13 AM
Subject: Jenn's Greatest Failure Update

Hey folks --

I visited my old staff when I was in CA this week and I wanted provide you an update to my "failure" story about crappy staff space.

Before I left we created an "Action Plan" to address the staff space issues and I set aside some budget dollars for implementation. The key component of the plan was to create a Staff Workspace Committee that would give the management team a proposal for changes. They presented the proposal before I left and we authorized the majority of the work.

Attached are pictures of the result: White walls instead of dingy brown, new lighting, a kudos white board (for anyone to kudo another staff member), more open cube configuration, wall paper images of outside spaces (they voted on them), a couch and TV, and a professional reading library that had an ongoing budget for new titles monthly!

Cheers,
Jenn
************************************************
Jenn Stringer, MLIS
Director, Academic Technology Services
Information Technology Services
New York University
(212) 992-6971
jenn.stringer@nyu.edu



From: Randy Putt <rputt@UARK.EDU>
Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE Professtional Development Constituent Group Listserv <PROFDEV@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 15:38:49 -0500
To: "PROFDEV@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU" <PROFDEV@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Subject: [PROFDEV] IT workspace design

We are in the design stages of a new building on our campus which will contain one floor for some IT staff.  There will be about 34 IT individuals housed on this floor.  Titles represented on this floor will be Programmers, System Analysts, Application Architect, and Business Analysts.  There will be no administrative/support staff on this floor.   

 

I would be interested in what type of workspace is provided at other campuses for IT professionals of this type.  Most of our existing workspaces are private offices as this is how most older building were designed.  It seems there is a trend to gain flexibility in workspace design for our new buildings on campus, thus discussions about more of an open work environment containing cubicles or partial “movable” walls that do not go to the ceiling. 

 

My initial reaction to this type of work environment is that it will be counterproductive for most IT professionals as it would increase distractions and disruptions that hinder employee concentration and that we need to provide acoustically sound work environments that provide appropriate levels of privacy.

 

What has been your experience?

 

Randy Putt

University of Arkansas

Associate Director IT Services

 

 

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Close
Close


Annual Conference
September 29–October 2
Register Now!

Events for all Levels and Interests

Whether you're looking for a conference to attend face-to-face to connect with peers, or for an online event for team professional development, see what's upcoming.

Close

Digital Badges
Member recognition effort
Earn yours >

Career Center


Leadership and Management Programs

EDUCAUSE Institute
Project Management

 

 

Jump Start Your Career Growth

Explore EDUCAUSE professional development opportunities that match your career aspirations and desired level of time investment through our interactive online guide.

 

Close
EDUCAUSE organizes its efforts around three IT Focus Areas

 

 

Join These Programs If Your Focus Is

Close

Get on the Higher Ed IT Map

Employees of EDUCAUSE member institutions and organizations are invited to create individual profiles.
 

 

Close

2014 Strategic Priorities

  • Building the Profession
  • IT as a Game Changer
  • Foundations


Learn More >

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good™

EDUCAUSE is the foremost community of higher education IT leaders and professionals.