Take your seat

A quick note about office desks, seats, people and team spirit.

I’ve spend almost 15 years on software development, saw different companies, different people, different teams and different offices. Maybe hundred of them. Where I used to work, or my friends did. Some offices were small, some large. Cubicles, rooms and open spaces. Noisy and quiet. Cool startups and boring enterprise. Sometimes different offices that belongs to same organization.

At some point I’ve noticed a small difference, a difference in team members as I think is correlates with difference in how theirs work desks are placed. Remember when the same people have moved from one office to another, they started to conduct themselves differently.

Usually when you’re allowed to move your desks in a room, people do something like this:
face to face

I call this “Face to Face” tables.

Other way would be:
back to back

I call this “Back to Back”.

Sometimes Face-to-Face tables take much more space than Back-To-Back, like when you have more that 4 person in a room. But still people are prefer sitting Face-to-Face. Maybe we just afraid of showing our screen to other people in the room.

Back-to-Back is more natural for small spaces, popular in WeWork offices for example. But it’s not limited to small spaces, I saw such configuration in large open space, where a part of a large team decided to sit like this (or maybe someone else just put their tables here in such way, so they just had no choice).

So what I’ve noticed? Better teams usually sit Back-to-Back. Honestly I don’t know why, but it doesn’t look like coincidence. Maybe people just become more open, they know that their colleagues can alway see their screen and they just not trying to hide anything from each other. Maybe it’s natural instinct, like “fighting back to back”. Often it’s also smaller distance, so you’re literally closer to each other.

If you have a choice how to put your seats and tables – sit back to back. Get trust and respect from other team members. Know what coworkers are doing right now, without disturbing them. And see when you can help. Work together.


Igor Artamonov

Professional software developer since 2001, have been writing code since 1995. Data processing for Cloud, Ethereum & Blockchain