Where you work matters.
Spend an hour with a group of developers and the debates will start. Open plan versus private offices. One monitor versus two or even three. Mac versus Windows. Laptop versus home-built desktop. Music preferences. The list goes on. There are even studies that purport to show how productivity changes with more display space, or that open plans decrease productivity. And all of those studies are roundly disputed.
In the end, the ideal work environment is a very personal thing.
Here’s my desk.
I’m a consultant. I work here about two days a week, plus evenings and weekends. I’m at a client site two days a week, and one day a week I’m usually at meetings or working at my local library. Most of my coding work is Web development or working on Linux systems (hence, the Mac).
Let’s take a tour, shall we?
- No paper. Paper on my desk drives me nuts. There’s a filing cabinet in a closet in the office. If at all possible, I’ll scan and toss paper. If I can’t, then it goes into the filing cabinet.
- Yes, it’s a Mac. Specifically, it’s a 15-inch MacBook Pro. I’m not religious about operating systems, but I have grown highly dependent on SSH, awk, grep and the like. In addition, most of the software I develop is deployed on Linux boxes, and the toolchains translate more easily than they do from Windows. Plus, I have Windows available using VMWare — great for browser testing!
- iPad and iPhone. You can’t see the phone because I used it to take this picture. A couple of my clients are creating software for these platforms, and it’s handy to have them available.
- One Big Monitor. That’s a 27-inch cinema display. I prefer a single monitor when possible, and that gives me all the pixels I need. It’s a dream to work on. (I confess I don’t use full screen mode much.)
- The LEGO guy in the background is made of actual LEGOs and is about two feet tall. He occasionally shows up as the user avatar in demos. He’s fun!
- You can barely make out the plant behind the monitor. It’s a sort of spiky tree-like thing that holds the distinction of being the one kind of plant I haven’t killed. I do not have a green thumb. The greenery is nice, though.
What does your work environment look like? Share your pictures in the comments below.