ideal work space

a collection of the ‘ideal work space’ comments from staff ahead of the office moves:


background “babble” – or the ability to listen to the radio/have the tv on in the background quietly.

outdoors – fresh air, natural light, plenty of personal space, and a nice view – beach or somewhere wooded would be perfect.

food and drink within easy walking distance!


 not silent – the sound of waves, tv/radio or general office noise works best for me. my mind drifts all over the place in silence.

a really comfy choice of seats – tend to be curled up on the settee to read documents at home.

really good, natural light and a view – saw an office on holiday that looked straight out to sea – heaven.

diverse – i read, type, talk, make, show, display, engage others in formal and informal settings. all this activity has different and important requirements.

a non-home space that allows me to be inward looking and focussed and not distracted by background noises.

any situation that accepts me being either totally engaged with what is happening around me or totally disengaged with it.

(despite this i can, and have, worked anywhere!)






when there’s enough background noise/buzz/activity/creativity of any description to overwhelm the deafening, thunderous, water torturing clatter of the one keyboard that incessantly disturbs an otherwise deserted and silent world…

a staff room that is a staff room, where NO meetings are allowed at all.

a space to call my own.

reserve list: jamaica


excellent natural light (essential for my poor eyesight).

peace and quiet (i work well at home, or in an office, away from other people’s noise, and find it difficult to concentrate in open plan areas).

fresh air (an open window helps to prevent my thought processes from getting too ‘stale’).

a comfortable office chair, and more relaxed seating somewhere handy, which i can use to give my eyes a rest from the PC screen, to read through papers etc.

somewhere nearby where i can go to talk things through with colleagues (when i’m ready for a break from my peace and quiet…).

a small space which i can ‘personalise’ to make me feel at home (eg, a notice board, or some wall space).

easy access to the folders/files which i use regularly.

a nice view (preferably countryside, or a coastline, rather than ugly city buildings). frosty view


background low level babble is good – loud/piercing/intermittent voices and lots of noise not so good.

fresh air and natural light good – direct sunlight not so good (no window seat for me please!)

things that are alive around me – plants, fish, a cat? let sleeping cats lie

a quiet comfy place to go and read/power nap – big squashy sofa or a bed preferably…

refreshments close by.

add a parasol to this and it’d do for me!: needs parasol


i would prefer some kind of ‘people presence’ around when in the office, but like quiet working conditions when i need to focus on writing something or getting a task done, so tend to work from home, with no telephone and lots of fresh air – so tend to work by open windows. the choice to switch on the radio or use my ipod when doing routine admin stuff and e-mail is a bonus.


quiet uncluttered environment with a spacious view.

ability to move between seating types to suit tasks and for variety and comfort (including standing up to access a PC and working on the train).

access to a natural space or a ping-pong table for recharging between bouts of concentration.

access to colleagues so as to keep in contact and get instant help.


i like extremes – i love noise, bustle and buzz of a busy environment. a noisy environment with interruptions works well for me – if i need to think i will get away and work in a quiet space on campus or at home. a light and vibrant atmosphere are more important and my heart sinks when i walk in to find a small number of us in the office – i find this more distracting than when the place is buzzing. equally if i have to really get my head round something i need an environment i can switch off from (this could be complete quiet or just something i can switch off from).

the ability to walk within a short space of time into a different environment is key for me (i think when i walk or cycle) and this for me is one of the main drawbacks of oneleven. proximity to students is something else that i will miss. so my intention is to be more focussed on the way i use my calendar and where i choose to engage in different activities to give each week a blend of environments – making better use of technology and working more flexibly – we shall see.

 laptop, paper, coffee

 my own fixed workspace as i like to make my desk my own with flowers and photographs, i spend lots of time at my desk and so want to make it as homely as possible.

cafe society

i like background noise and sometimes if the office is really quiet you will usually find me bopping along to the radio with my headphones on. this often makes me completely deaf to everything else so i often need a tap on the shoulder to get me attention.

i am often cold even in summer so would ideally like a spot in a non draughty area.

i do like to use colleagues as a first port of call for information that i may not know, and so ideally sitting near to those who don’t mind interruptions as i often ask those sat closest to me.

having the option of sitting in a comfy seat that’s away from my desk if i have reading to do.


i’m not tidy – couldn’t handle a ‘clear desk’ policy! i like my files/information around me, so can lay my hands on anything quickly (because i’m often working on lots of different stuff at once).

listen to music if need to concentrate (but if need to concentrate for long, i work from home).

i find the sound of incessant clacking of keyboards difficult and intrusive.

picture of a beautiful scene (usually one from our Year Out) eg, norwegian lake and mountains. relaxing and calming.

although i store everything electronically, i like paper to pick up, flick through, read.

access to a private area for conversations and phone calls. some are highly confidential.

as you probably know – i like talking to all and sundry, so am happy to be around people!


perfect work environment is quiet – LTI is just quiet enough to work in, but to really concentrate and do inspired work i have to have complete quiet. at home i like an open window and the sound of the wind rustling trees, the distant sound of neighbours chatting in their gardens. there’s just enough noise to know humanity is out there!
plenty of natural light but shade from sun if needed.


“fair distance to the nearest catering point…meant that food and drink breaks needed to be more time managed, rather than taking spontaneous decisions to take a break” 
dickie bird clock

“physical isolation (even when focusing on a completely personalised task) isn’t conducive for me”
it's all gone a bit american werewolf in london...


i like to have my own desk that i can personalise and make into my own workspace with all my files, work and photos, etc. having everything around me helps me to settle into my working day much easier. a notice board is also useful. i prefer to be surrounded by background noise as i work, either quiet office chatter or  music/radio through my earphones when i need to really concentrate.

from time to time i like to be able to discuss things with colleagues, as i find that talking things through can sometimes help work things out a lot quicker, either at my desk or in a comfy more relaxed break out space.

fresh air, natural light and a nice view would be ideal, with easy access to meeting spaces and refreshments, etc.








need my own work space, as it should be a space of certainty, safety and purpose.

need extroverts seated around me, as i am an introvert  with the occasional extrovert tendency – so if a spontaneous idea comes to mind, i will more than likely blurt it out hoping for an idea to become refined through discussion with other(s). i am aware that this will probably cause a disruption in any state of quietness.


yes, i like a bit of noise – the radio ideally, but i can’t stand adverts which rules out most commercial stations! i don’t really get along with headphones so i’d prefer not to use them, but with a large group of people, i can see there might be problems reaching consensus about which station to listen to!

i like fresh air so windows that open would be lovely – but failing that, a decent temperature would be nice.

comfy chairs would be lovely and laptops that you can just turn on rather than having to fetch them, plug them in, etc (lazy…but you did say ideal)!

flapjack within easy reach and a place to make a cup of tea!

somewhere to make phone calls – not that i frequently have to make private calls – more that i don’t like my telephone voice and would rather have a place where i don’t have to inflict it on everyone else.


it’s difficult to think of an ideal working space, because once i get going, i can pretty much work anywhere – the one thing that affects me is noise, with the worst culprits being too-loud desk phones (turn them down!) and phone conversations, alarms and mobiles going off (turn them off! it’s called silent mode for a reason!). people now seem to be using rooms better for longer originally desk-based discussions. thankfully, noise can be avoided with a pair of headphones and a listen-again session of radcliffe and marconie. i do need background noise most of the time, but i do like silence, especially when reading, which is why i save stacks of reading for working at home, nothing seems to go in on the tram/train.

when at home, i work in my living room, at a desk in my spare room, and at the kitchen table, it depends on what i’m doing. i like to have a big flat surface. i suppose thinking about it, i’d like a number of desks where i can sit in the middle, like jean-michel jarre with his keyboards! jeanmichel

or like batman or a bond villain (like in the hastily constructed mockup attached!):


so, one desk would have a computer and huge screen(s), another would have paper and marker pens, and another again would have help-me-think-stuff, like lego, toys, or other objects.

i’m very much into 3D things that convey information at the moment, rather than endless sheets of printed paper. it would be good to have ‘things’ that conveyed information, rather than just computer screens, objects that could tell you about changes in the weather, if e-mail had arrived, reminders about meetings, etc.

in the wider environment, there would be a range of lighting options, background music, and lots of colour, and the temperature would be cool and consistent not like the adsetts level 7 jeckyll/hyde freezer/sauna! i like natural light and all kinds of weather, so this would have to be outside/semi outside, or near a very big window or glazed ceiling. i also like having different places to sit. everything i need would be in reach, and i’d like to be able to be working on a number of things at once. there would be photos/slideshows running, and i’m very keen on timelines at the moment that carry video, audio, images, everything. 


2 responses to “ideal work space

  1. Raj

    having worked in a faculty quite a lot this academic year – adjusting to and making alternative working environments work for me became a reality and essential feature of my working life.

    assigned a desk in the lodge building, up at collegiate crescent and sharing it with two other colleagues was certainly a change in working environment.

    it was a very small and confined working space (not a fan). there was no access to meetings rooms in the building. not ideal. the location was prety remote to the rest of the world, and i missed especially having immediate access to stuff happening at city – made me feel like I was missing out on stuff that was going on out there.

    my pc was networked to a very old printer where printing double sided wasn’t possible unless manually filtered through! i didn’t feel like personalising my desk in anyway knowing that it was only temporary working environment. it was fair distance to the nearest catering point in southbourne which meant that food and drink breaks needed to be more time managed, rather than taking spontaneous decisions to take a break. compared to my desk at city – my desk at collegiate wasn’t dse assessed and was set up all wrong for me (having previously had neck/posture problems).

    the regular “people traffic” of students and staff up at collegiate is at a much slower pace and of a different type and there’s much less chance of informally bumping into people who you work with across the university, which is an added informal bonus of being at city.

    so in terms of my ideal space:

    •i like open plan – i spend a fair bit of time at my desk to do all sort of different peronalised things including, reading, writing, planning. Also on occassion have people sat aroud a desk to do collaborative work, although recently this has been changed to use a laptop and meeting room in recent months

    •i like being in close proximity to colleagues who are also working, which enhances my concentration and motivation on what i’m doing. (something about knowing that you’re in an environment to work – thus resisting temptation to procrasinate)

    •on the occasion where i need to work without being disturbed – i’ve often been seen in the adsetts building in various places

    •it’s hugely beneficial being around colleagues in a working environment – helping to resolve day to day issues which require a quick (non resource intensive) response from a colleague and vice versa

    •tend to wear headphones if i’m focusing on task that requires my full attention – although that doesn’t at all mean i can’t be disturbed

    •physical isolation (even when focusing on a completely personalised task) isn’t conducive for me. working at home isn’t ideal

    •working background noise helps – although extended social conversation is off-putting

  2. anne oxley

    Another colleagues’ ideal environs…

    Can chat to people I need to chat to, but having contact with people doing other work in other teams useful to stimulate different thoughts and join up what we are doing. Having stuff on the walls about projects is good in that way too – the creativity display being a very good example.

    Sometimes like to be in a bubbly atmosphere with conversations going on, learn a fair bit about what’s going on like that. But sometimes really want to work quietly, little noise or distraction, natural light, having a view out of a window would be lovely, maybe even some fresh air…

    Sometimes reading done away from desk, on some couches, in the garden, in a park. Sometimes need to read on screen. Need quiet for both.

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