corporate cube shuffle

One of the funny things that tech corporations do a lot of is shuffle people from bldg to bldg. I’ve been in tech since tech was new, so of course, I’ve done a hell of a lot of this. I’ve even done the moves myself, when I worked for a startup in this dim and […]

One of the funny things that tech corporations do a lot of is shuffle people from bldg to bldg.

I’ve been in tech since tech was new, so of course, I’ve done a hell of a lot of this. I’ve even done the moves myself, when I worked for a startup in this dim and distant past; being the lowest paid guy in the company (one of maybe three without a PHd behind my name), i got all those extra jobs, like building stuff, tearing stuff down, moving heavy things, and driving the company truck (because I had a truck, and no one else did, it became The Company TRuck).

The thing that seems ironic now, though, is that physical proximity to co workers matters almost not at all for most companies now. Most of us in tech – at least the engineers – get more done when we’re away from our cubicles than when we’re in them. So the push to gather a team together in one room, area or bldg is a loosing battle for a company that’s growing.

I’m lucky enough to work for such a company, so we’re doing lots of poorly-planned body shuffles.

It’s frustrating; putting us together won’t help us work, but moving us disrupts work. Our last move was dreadful, costing me vastly in terms of productivity. And it failed the goal of putting a team together, because we tried to shoehorn three teams into room for two, and thus wound up splitting all three teams worse than when we started.

Tomorrow, we go again, and it’s the same thing; three teams into one bldg, and by the time we move, space is already too short to fit everyone, even with cubes cut down to 2/3 normal size.

For what? So managers who don’t really get it can know where everyone sits.

There’s an upside though. My current bldg is absolutely horrible. Oh, it looks great, but as a working environment it’s dreadful. Every mistake you can make in terms of lighting and sound has been made. So the new bldg – literally two parking lots down the road – has to be better, if only because it can’t be worse. So if we stay there loger than a year, the productivity should be a sum gain only because the environment may be less noisy and unpleasant. BUt that’s only a win if we don’t move again in six months, because a move like that always costs weeks of disruption.

And again, why? When we could work literally anywhere, in any bldg. Moving one employee is easy; moving a bldg-full is a huge undertaking.

Corporation, I guess we could say, are stupid.

On the other hand, we get friday off. So it’s not a complete loss.

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