On Offices and Libraries

When I first came into Office Nomads a little more than a year ago, I’d been working nomadically for about six months. During that time I tried working in coffee shops and libraries in an effort to get myself out of the house and, as one of our members likes to say, “put some dam pants on already.” While the strategy gave me a reason to get dressed each day, it didn’t help me get any actual work done. As a reporter, I often have to do phone interviews. In coffee shops it’s just hard to hear and in libraries, well you can’t talk on a cell phone.

That’s why one of my biggest reasons for working out of Office Nomads is being able to talk on the phone when I need to. However, phone conversations seem to be a point of concern that potential Nomads have when they come to check out the office. I think it’s because of the very open floor plan and lack of cubes here. “How is it when people are on the phone? Is it loud? Can you get work done?” they ask.

It’s a valid concern, certainly, but in my experience, it’s not one you have to worry about for two reasons. First of all, I have a hard time myself when people are talking around me and I’m trying to get work done, and I never find myself bothered at Office Nomads. Sure, people chit-chat and talk on the phone around me, but it is certainly no more distracting than being in a busy coffee shop and if it is, I can always pop in some headphones and tune it all out. I know the same is true for others.

The other reason is that all office workers deal with the ambient noise no matter what office we’re in and Office Nomads is no different, open floor plan notwithstanding. It’s no louder here than it ever was when I worked in a cube farm at a dot com in the late 90s or in a busy non-profit in the early ’00s because people are considerate. Most calls they take are short and to the point and for long ones, we all get up and find a quiet corner or a conference room to camp in for a little bit.

In the long run,  the sound of other people getting work done isn’t distracting because being around that energy is why we’re all here. After all, as Jacob says, “It’s an office, not a library.”

The picture “”tack of Phones'” was taken by Flickr user nedrichards.

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One Response to On Offices and Libraries

  1. Office Space says:

    I just wish there was a place like Office Nomads where I live (Lexington, KY). I spend my time at a couple different Starbuck’s and two different public libraries. I don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone in either library, and all too often, Starbuck’s is packed, plus playing some very loud music. What’s worse, it’s often music that I’m not particularly fond of..

    I find myself often apologizing to the person I’m speaking on the phone with because I trail off in mid-sentence because of the distractions around me. Maybe I should start a franchise location here in Lexington.