It’s a bit of a ghost town where I work at the moment.
No, we haven’t sacked half our staff (in fact, we’re about to get a whole bunch of new people in the office), but right now we’re the only people on the floor, and so it’s really quiet. I half expect to look up and see a tumbleweed roll past my desk.
For most of the people in my area, this is probably the perfect working environment. They can focus on their work without being interrupted by conversations in other areas. (And voice mail can take care of any unwanted phone calls.)
But for me it’s becoming a real problem. As I’ve said before I’m an extrovert, and so without people around me I start to feel incredibly drained.
The ironic thing is when it’s quiet like this I put on my headphones and listen to music to break the silence, which cuts me off from people even more. (I think it might be time to buy a speaker dock for my iPhone.)
As I said, we’re about to get a whole bunch of new people in the office. So many people, in fact, that the office will be filled to capacity. And so we’re about to have a “blocking and stacking” exercise to fit everyone in without splitting up the various teams. (Think of it as human Tetris, except people don’t suddenly disappear when you complete a row.)
I’m part of the “blocking and stacking” team, and so I get to… shall we say “suggest” which sections move into the area to join us. (Yes, in some situations you can choose your neighbours.)
A few years ago I would have gone for the quieter teams in the office. The ones who’ll keep to themselves, make the least noise, and cause the least disruption.
But now I’m starting to think a bit differently. Maybe I should focus on groups at the other end of the spectrum. Not necessarily the people who are noisy, but rather the people who are a bit more interactive. People who can help me re-energise, and maybe re-energise themselves in the process.
Or maybe I should just tell the rest of my team I’m open to bribes.