What Is Your Ideal Working Environment?

August 21, 2018

Here at Fast Horse, we have an open office with non-dedicated workspaces. We are encouraged to work from a different floor and different seat every day and can work from wherever we choose (home, coffee shop, lake cabin, etc.). In talking to friends both at work and outside of Fast Horse, I have noticed people either hate or love the freedom of open offices. Some crave the diversity and others need a home base to get their work done (and a place to keep their snacks).

What environment do I work best in? On days with a lighter workload, you can find me on the fourth floor, the office gathering space, which allows people to work standing up. It generally has the most collaborative feel. On days where I need extreme focus and concentration, I will be on the second floor or in a call booth. The thing with coding full time is it takes complete concentration and any distraction or interruption can set you back hours. When your head is down on a project, a designated working spot is ideal.

I know what environment is best for me based on the day, but was curious about what works for others both inside and outside the Fast Horse office. Meg Lewis, designer and buddy to all, co-owns a co-working space called Fool Proof in northeast Minneapolis. When asked what her ideal workspace is, she said,

I love to set myself up with a career and life that provides many options for working arrangements. As a contractor and self-employed person, I’ve been privileged to have the option to move locations throughout the day or from day to day. I started a shared workspace full of friends, which is extraordinarily helpful for when I’m feeling collaborative, social, or looking for others to hold me accountable. I have a list of favorite coffee shops (with outlets!) that I often travel to when I need to write. I’ve found the anonymity of my presence in a cafe keeps me from socializing but also stimulates my brain by being around people. I find many mornings I wake up and feel more productive and focused in certain environments so I try my best to listen to what my body wants on that given day. It keeps things fresh, unpredictable, and exciting!

Fellow Fast Horse employee Stephanie gave a list of her ideal office vibe:

  • Not silent, but also not super loud. I like music in the background, but if the music is too loud or if there is too much commotion, I can’t concentrate.
  • Comfortable seating/desk arrangement. Having monitors, or some sort of elevated screen, is a huge help.
  • Privacy when needed is helpful. If you need to make a call or even concentrate for a couple hours, being able to go to a quiet space is nice.
  • A place to eat lunch (like a common room of sorts) is nice. That way you don’t have to eat while you work.

Another non-Fast Horse employee said:

Personally, I like having a fixed spot. It’s important for me to have a place to keep my things and be able to establish some sort of place as my own. It’s a little bit of control and a spot to reset.

KARE TV recently did a piece title “Do Open Workspaces Work?” I think the segment does a great job viewing both sides.  You can watch it here.