Decide Which Office Type Is Best for You Before Accepting a Job

When considering a new job, you juggle a lot of decisions. One that’s often overlooked: The actual space you’ll be working in. Though a ‘good’ office setting is subjective, there’s is some hard evidence that the type of office you work in can make or break your job satisfaction and productivity.

A recent Dice Insights survey highlights that a bad office environment can ruin your productivity. ‘Toxic environment’ and ‘distractions’ (which can be anything from loud music to in-office ping-pong tables) combine for 50 percent of perceived productivity loss (i.e., half of tech pros are blaming their office environments for a loss in productivity).

“There is a strong link between physical comfort and productivity,” Anja Jamrozik, Ph.D., Behavioral Scientist and Research Consultant for Breather, told Dice. “Almost anything that can be changed in a space, from humidity to acoustics, will impact how an individual experiences that room and the quality of the work they do as a result. For example, if an individual is feeling uncomfortable (e.g., in a room she believes is too cold), her mind tends to focus on that discomfort, distracting from focused work and reducing productivity.”

The key seems to be knowing what type of office you’ll thrive in. “An employee joining a more traditional private office environment may find they have fewer spontaneous interactions and meetings with colleagues than they would like,” Jamrozik added. “Frequent informal interactions are important for collaborative relationships, and they are less likely in offices without shared team spaces.”

Indeed, if you thrive on frequent personal interactions, an office with several private spaces where people can retreat may not be for you. Conversely, software engineers tend to do their best work when they can find a room with no distractions and dive into their code.

An open office is likely not a good solution, either. While typically more cost-effective, a lack of private working space can ultimately prove detrimental. “You might find yourself fighting to stay focused in a shared or coworking space filled with noisy, nosy neighbors,” Jamrozik said. “It’s impossible for the design elements that impact comfort—such as light, temperature and acoustics—to fit the needs of every person working in a shared space. The result is a one-size-fits none approach that many startups quickly outgrow.

“If you’ve been brought on to tackle an innovative new project, a lack of privacy in a shared space could even put your intellectual property at risk.”

Of course, the most private workspace is at home, and Jamrozik suggests asking about a company’s remote work policy before accepting any job. Our data shows remote work is one of the more attractive benefits a company can offer.

Before accepting any job, know yourself… and know which type of environment you’ll thrive in.