Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 205 total)
  • Arguments against IT staff in open plan office
  • alan1977
    Free Member

    So, i’ve been in this job for 20 years, office at the back of the building, boss’s office is a sub office of this one, and behind him is our store room, comms rack etc etc

    My role is everything IT related, there’s 2 of us looking after the whole business of 250+ staff 350+ devices, infrastructure, the lot

    We have signed the lease for a new building, its being renovated and fitted out

    in this new building they have planned for a small HR office in the corner, next to that my boss’s office with me on a cluster of desks outside those offices mixed in with accounts staff, also very close to the main entrance.

    Hands up, I don’t want to be in the main population at all, with HR directly behind me, my boss has already said to use his office as it will be empty 90% of the time, but surely there is some legitimate arguments against an IT person potentially dealing with sensitive information, or GDPR related info, for example me taking staff mobile numbers to help them with MFA etc etc? help me formulate a good argument that would stand up 🙂

    binners
    Full Member

    What? No basement?

    nwgiles
    Full Member

    From an IT management view, surely your IP address would be a different subnet which would be dangerous if anyone hotdesks at your table

    alan1977
    Free Member

    no one will be hotdesking, regardless, we have no additional rights from our desktops, all high level stuff is done on remote servers

    Aidy
    Free Member

    If you’ve been there for 20 years and had your own office, and suddenly they want you to work open plan, I’d be telling them exactly where they can put those office plans…

    oikeith
    Full Member

    The office I work in recently re-homed the IT guys from a cave in the back to a desk to have a walk up style IT bar. I think the days of hiding in caves for tech guys are numbered.

    Aidy
    Free Member

    I think the days of hiding in caves for tech guys are numbered.

    Yeah. No point hiding in an office when you can work remotely.

    fossy
    Full Member

    That would be crap – your colleagues would have to slag you off to your face !

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    No point hiding in an office when you can work remotely your job has been outsource to India.

    🙂

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    You mean they aren’t going to put you on a genius bar that folk can just walk up to?
    You also need a completely open slack or teams channel that folk can log their requests on / ask their questions.

    I think the days of hiding in caves for tech guys are numbered.

    Quite right too.


    @cougar
    will be along in a minute to put us right.

    Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    office at the back of the building, boss’s office is a sub office of this one, and behind him is our store room, comms rack etc etc

    You make it sound like you are already in an open plan office that you happen to be the only occupant of. And your boss has an office in the same area.

    I don’t think you have a technical argument, just a loss of status one

    thepurist
    Full Member

    Last place I worked we had HR in an open plan space with hot desking around them. I’d think they routinely handled more sensitive info than stuff like giving someone an MFA code. There were small rooms where they could go if they wanted to discuss anything without being overheard, but most of their work was done in the open.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    Get.Over.Yourself.

    (FWIW – 33 years in IT)

    tjagain
    Full Member

    Arguments against IT staff in open plan office

    Bad dress sense, questionable attitude to general hygiene, not known for their interpersonal skills.  Those IT bods need to be hidden in caves 😉

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Having IT out in the “open” is a total PITA. People walk up all the time with “can you just…?” requests, you get treated as a one stop shop for “I need a new [IT thing]…”

    It’s just constant disruption.

    Pieface
    Full Member

    All staff need to consider GDPR regardless of role. HR and Finance will probably always have a stronger argument about dealing with more sensitive information.

    alan1977
    Free Member

    yer my open teams requests get ignored, as do emails, I’m trying to train the company with rewards by ignoring their personal requests then instantly jumping on their requests when they use the official route

    not being interrupted when i’m head deep in something by none critical stuff

    the office i’m in has 2 desks close together, then my boss has half the space again with a glass partition, so the open plan is me, plus the student lad once every few weeks, music on loud, phone on DND

    pk13
    Full Member

    I hate to say this but just accept it.

    From a security point of view very little will be seen or overheard.

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Having IT out in the “open” is a total PITA. People walk up all the time with “can you just…?” requests, you get treated as a one stop shop for “I need a new [IT thing]…”

    It’s just constant disruption.

    Disruption from what? That’s what they are there for.

    mogrim
    Full Member

    Bad dress sense, questionable attitude to general hygiene, not known for their interpersonal skills. Those IT bods need to be hidden in caves

    I’m not sure someone who sent most of their professional life wearing crocs and covered in bodily fluids is in any position to criticise 🙂

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    I’m trying to train the company with rewards by ignoring their personal requests then instantly jumping on their requests when they use the official route

    Oh my word 🤣

    poly
    Free Member

    If you’ve been there for 20 years and had your own office, and suddenly they want you to work open plan, I’d be telling them exactly where they can put those office plans…

    Maybe that’s their plan!

    Hands up, I don’t want to be in the main population at all, with HR directly behind me, my boss has already said to use his office as it will be empty 90% of the time, but surely there is some legitimate arguments

    I’d start with working though your “illegitimate” arguments – why are you (not IT guys in general) special?   If your issue(s) are sensible e.g. you spend large amounts of time coding and need to concentrate or being “too approachable” will make it really hard to do anything between “can you fix the printer”, then air them.  If your issues are nonsense e.g. but HR would know I was on STW all day, or the bantz in the IT room are not fit for public consumption… then tough luck.

    against an IT person potentially dealing with sensitive information, or GDPR related info, for example me taking staff mobile numbers to help them with MFA etc etc? help me formulate a good argument that would stand up

    1. there’s screen protectors around that stop anyone except the direct user being able to see your screen.  It would take minimum monitor positioning and desk rearranging to blow any “but I might have sensitive info on my screen” argument out.
    2. your one GDPR example was particularly week – the only person who might oversee it from behind are HR who probably already have the mobile number!
    3. if those issues affect you they affect your accounts people, etc too.  Does your business have a culture of secrecy (which management approve of) and do some roles involve enhanced security checks etc?  if not you aren’t going to win an argument.
    4. IT people who aren’t “on the shop floor” fall into the “it works for me” response and naively believe their users are following all security policies etc not leaving machines unlocked, post its with passwords lying around etc.  I’d take some convincing that the net result would be less security from being out of sight.

    thepurist
    Full Member

    I guess one advantage of having an office door is that the IT bods can put a sign on it saying “have you tried turning it off and back on again?” and thereby deal with at least 99% of the people who would just walk up to them in an open plan office.

    convert
    Full Member

    Bad dress sense, questionable attitude to general hygiene, not known for their interpersonal skills. Those IT bods need to be hidden in caves 😉

    This is it. It’s not your delicate sensitivities being put under stress here, it’s your colleagues’!

    Don’t all IT guys have boxes and boxes or random cables from 1995, a half built desktop undergoing bench testing and a series of dubious posters about how you don’t have to be crazy to work here etc etc. where are they going to go?

    traildog
    Free Member

    Open plan offices are a nightmare for anyone who has to use their brain for working, rather than those which just jabber for their jobs.  Open plan offices are also a nightmare for introverts (also the majority of IT people).

    tjagain
    Full Member

    I’m not sure someone who sent most of their professional life wearing crocs and covered in bodily fluids is in any position to criticise 🙂

    Lolz

    alan1977
    Free Member

    disruption,

    so i do jobs that can take 5 minutes, I also have jobs that I know I need x amount of time for, 2 hours, 2 days, weeks..

    I pencil in the several hour jobs and ignore everything when i start on them, these are jobs that mistakes can be bad, again, I’m not just a support desk, I’m doing everything.

    but the key thing is , i do not want people casually walking over to me, I’m thinking i will be sat with headphones on all day.

    re the secrecy comment, yes, with full visibility on everything that happens in the business there is definitely an element of secrecy and confidentiality, including on phone calls, apart from my direct boss, I answer to 3 directors. I can be on peoples screens and they can have confidential info on screen. I can be on the phone to my boss OR as it is now, in open conversation about a situation that we do not want overheard as it’s an issue we are dealing with.

    Also, i can be on Asda booking my shopping for collection

    the junk area mentioned is another talking point, we can have boxes of new hardware  that we currently use one of our on site warehouses for, and we will essentially now have a bathroom sized room which is out of sight

    I’m not sure there’s much strong argument, was hoping more along the lines of it literally breaking GDPR or something

    alan1977
    Free Member

    ^^ traildog has it

    sc-xc
    Full Member

    I’m not sure there’s much strong argument, was hoping more along the lines of it literally breaking GDPR or something

    As above, we have our ICT, HR and Finance in an open plan office. We also have the LADO (Local Area Designated Officer) who is responsible for dealing with allegations of malpractice/abuse by professionals etc…

    binners
    Full Member

    Open plan offices are a nightmare for anyone who has to use their brain for working, rather than those which just jabber for their jobs. Open plan offices are also a nightmare for introverts (also the majority of IT people).

    Some bright spark (I think it was a management consultant) at a company I used to work for had the bright idea of putting the ‘creatives’ in the same open plan office as the IT bods. Talk about trying to combine two completely incompatible ecosystems? Everyone absolutely hated it. That didn’t last long. 2 weeks, IIRC

    mashr
    Full Member

    alan1977
    Free Member
    ^^ traildog has it

    You’ve been hidden away for 20 years, just because you like his opinion doesn’t make it correct.

    Everything you mention above just sounds like normal workspace stuff. If you need quiet time then get yourself a polite “Do No Disturb” sign to put out as required.

    FWIW, I’ve been in this open plan office for 15 years. Plenty of people that do some impressive thinking around me. Yes, IT (and HR) share the same space as everyone else.

    dissonance
    Full Member

    Disruption from what? That’s what they are there for.

    No it is a small part, possibly, of their jobs. Otherwise its setting up servers, debugging and fixing network issues etc.
    All stuff which needs concentration and when if you are interrupted its generally you can lose a lot of time getting back to where you were.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    If you’ve been there for 20 years and had your own office, and suddenly they want you to work open plan, I’d be telling them exactly where they can put those office plans…

    You wouldn’t win that one unless you are prepared to leave over it, and consider that a win.

    Working open plan is a pretty standard MO nowadays (and to other comments, nowhere near as bad as people make out) – you can tune out very easily, and this is an introvert speaking here.

    GDPR – there’s ways to deal with that too – privacy screens, etc. to avoid being overlooked, still need some private spaces where you can go for a confidential discussion, etc.

    I had a meeting with our DPO earlier today. They’re in the same open plan office as I am, and manage to overcome the very secret info they have access to.

    You’re making a mountain out of a molehill, tbh. I get you ‘like’ a private office all to yourself, you don’t need one.

    DaveyBoyWonder
    Free Member

    Get.Over.Yourself.

    (FWIW – 33 years in IT)

    This (20 years in IT). A big problem I’ve always had recruiting people for IT roles is finding decent techies who are able to actually communicate with other human beings. Locking away the computer geeks in rooms is a thing of the past…

    poly
    Free Member

    disruption,

    so i do jobs that can take 5 minutes, I also have jobs that I know I need x amount of time for, 2 hours, 2 days, weeks..

    I pencil in the several hour jobs and ignore everything when i start on them, these are jobs that mistakes can be bad, again, I’m not just a support desk, I’m doing everything.

    but the key thing is , i do not want people casually walking over to me, I’m thinking i will be sat with headphones on all day.

    Yeah there’s a problem.  It depends who calls the shots.  Book a room (or your boss’ office) if you need to be uninterruptible.  Develop an approach where people know when “drop in time” is and how to get help at other times etc.  These problems are not unique to IT people – although they think they are special.  Finance, sales, technical, management people all have to juggle the “5 minute task” and the “5 hours without interruption task”.   People manage.  Organisations develop ways to help them.  Discuss the challenges.

    re the secrecy comment, yes, with full visibility on everything that happens in the business there is definitely an element of secrecy and confidentiality, including on phone calls, apart from my direct boss, I answer to 3 directors. I can be on peoples screens and they can have confidential info on screen. I can be on the phone to my boss OR as it is now, in open conversation about a situation that we do not want overheard as it’s an issue we are dealing with.

    Then when you need to do those things make a point of “hold on I need to move to somewhere quieter” thats what everyone else does.  If that delay causes an issue to the higher-ups they’ll soon find you a solution.

    Also, i can be on Asda booking my shopping for collection

    Yeah not so easy!

    the junk area mentioned is another talking point, we can have boxes of new hardware  that we currently use one of our on site warehouses for, and we will essentially now have a bathroom sized room which is out of site

    We used to use that argument until the lease came for renewal and someone got told that the annual storage of that shit actually cost more than its entire value!

    I’m not sure there’s much strong argument, was hoping more along the lines of it literally breaking GDPR or something

    I’d have kind of hoped that as “the IT guy” you’d have a better grasp of GDPR than thinking it was some sort of prescribed rules like that.

    DaveyBoyWonder
    Free Member

    Oh and working remotely FTW

    willard
    Full Member

    I could (and do) claim confidentiality for not wanting to be in a large, noisy open plan office. My team used to have an office in the quiet part of the building, far from the crowds, but they have moved us into the main area with a lot of development and it is noisy (they do mob programming) and there are no assigned desks for us. Given a lot of the work I do is confidential or working with personal information, holding meetings in that environment is challenging and I would actually prefer a lockable office for me and the others when we are in.

    As it is I normal steal a spare desk with the infra people as I know i can trust them and can use their meeting pod if I need to do a videomeeting. I still prefer being at home though. The cat really does not care what I do during the day as long as I pay the cheese tax.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Open plan offices are a nightmare for anyone who has to use their brain for working, rather than those which just jabber for their jobs.

    Not completely true.

    It’s when you don’t have a free desk amongst like minded folk and end up in the zoo that it all goes wrong.

    BoardinBob
    Full Member

    Doing nothing to dispel the notion that those working in IT are oddball loners…

    Houns
    Full Member

    You just don’t want HR being able to see how much of your day your spend on here.

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