Monday, April 28, 2008

"Dark" workplace environment

This post was provoked (in a good way) by Robert Scoble. Robert wrote a post about something that he was impressed with when he passed the Rackspace Headquarters. He found a department there that was completely dark.

I wrote him a small comment but I also promised him that will blog about it. For one or another reason (lots of work, new WordFrame customers, new trials, ICAEW community grew to 80,000+ users and a vacation) I could not write earlier. I am back on track now and I am posting everything that I had on my mind for some time now.

So, back to the main idea … For the last 13 years (since 1996) ITBrix development offices were on two locations. We spent 10 years in two large apartments which we converted into one office where we initially started with 4 people in 1996. At one point we were over 30 people on about 2500 sq. f. !

It was in 2001 when 3 of our guys started to completely block the sun and put thick paper on the windows. When we talked about the dark room idea it turned out that they feel more comfortable, work more concentrated and generally feel better. We did not need to talk more about it and we made two rooms very dark, just the light from the monitors.

When we moved to our new own office which we purchased in 2004 and completely renovated by 2005 we already had the idea that one of the main halls will be a “dark” one. We did install two types of blinds, external roller plastic blinds and internal Hunter-Douglas type blinds on all the office windows. We now have 7 people working in the dark hall with two guys feeling “left on the bright side” as they were in the dark rooms in the old office. One of them is the WordFrame Product manager – Rumen Yankov, but he manages to get a similar effect using the blinds we have on the windows. Plus the fact that Rumen has to be around his 10-people WordFrame development team on one hand, testers and support people on another and close to the CTO Hristo Serafimov.

So here is how the "dark" hall in our office looks like:

You can see that the light is from the camera flash and all the office lights on the ceiling are off.

So, Robert - not a new idea, and I am certain this “dark work place environment” can be observed in many offices or home offices all over the world.

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