The dust has settled, the noise has subsided, the routines have been re-established, and the future is bright. So bright in fact that one can often find a lime green umbrella in our newly reorganized aquarium; adorning our new space like an unsightly lawn ornament of sorts, a new employee, a team mascot, if you will.
‘’You can’t stop the change, any more than you can stop the suns from setting.”
‘’You can solve the summer sun issues, all you need is an umbrella’’
The umbrella has been brought in to solve a temporary problem, the sun. In the summer months the sun makes its way around the room, shining down brightly from above and playfully bouncing off our computer screens. Thus making concentration very difficult at times. The green umbrella serves as a practical solution. Eyesore? Perhaps. Simple and functional? Certainly. The reorganization of our aquarium, like the umbrella, was also implemented to serve as a practical solution. The need to adapt and accommodate; to create space. Space for the ever changing, ever growing, ever expanding mobile teams at mtc. We wanted a solution that allows our external teams the same opportunities, comforts and freedoms. Some employees work here full time, some teams are here on certain days, some people only one day a week. We needed a setup to satisfy those needs.
The change has come and gone at the Aquarium and our employees have settled in. Settled in is perhaps the wrong choice of words as there are now technically no permanent workspaces. Instead, desks are reserved for specific teams on specific days. Reserviert für SPN Montag – Donnerstag says a small laminated sign, nonchalantly taped to the corner of a desk. Employees follow suit and the system works. When asked if he would be upset if he came in to find someone else sitting at his desk, one employee replied – I have no desk.
For better or worse the goal of creating enough room for everyone has been achieved. Everyone has a space when they need it. On a Friday morning one might find the room totally empty – cables strewn about like a stock market trading floor after the bell has rung. On a Wednesday afternoon the same space can be found buzzing with energy and functioning like a well oiled machine. Teams working together, loudly collaborating while others code in silence. Full or empty, there has yet to be an instance in which someone did not have a place to work. Teams can more or less work together and while nobody has a set desk, somehow, everybody does.
Some challenges still remain. The issue of communication vs. concentration for example. People want a quiet place to work but nobody wants a cubicle. Another simple and practical solution – headphones. People want a place to call their own yet being mobile and flexible is the way we work these days. Perhaps all companies face these problems. Perhaps these are not problems at all.
Change is always difficult but it is also the only constant. Everything in life takes some getting used to. I can’t necessarily say that the change has been the perfect solution, or that it was originally met with the greatest of fanfare. It has been a few months since the reorganization. Have people adapted to the change? Some yes, some no. Some have even had a hard time remembering how it looked before. Is it an eyesore? Certainly not, although some people have said the new layout resembles that of a factory. Perhaps we are a factory of sorts. We are efficient, we are productive, we are pragmatic. Craftsmanship is in our DNA and like a factory, it is important that we produce, that we create, that we deliver. All problems are temporary and it’s true, you can’t stop the change. We just have to keep working to find the right solutions.