Mondays bring thoughts of trying new things for the new week. The working world is now full of co-working spaces, flexible spaces, “cubicle farms,” and the like. I would love to know your thoughts on these.

I’ve read some recent articles about this open space trend in working. We have gone from private offices to cubicles and now to completely wide open areas where people just drop in, plug in, and work. The articles I’ve read are saying how this doesn’t really work for everyone. First of all, there’s the distraction issue. There have been many studies on multi-tasking, most of which conclude that, if someone is trying to do several things at once, nothing is being done well. Concentration suffers with a lot of distractions. I know many people put in earphones to block out the distractions; I listen to music here at my desk to break the silence. As not only the owner and manager here, I am also the the receptionist. That means my desk is out in the open, so it’s also easy to launch into conversations with passersby. But it can be difficult when I really need to concentrate.

I also wonder about the privacy issue. I remember the days when, working in H.R., we had to be careful about what was visible on our desks. People would drop into the office and try to sneak a glimpse at stuff that was none of their business. People are often curious (or nosy) and will look at your work. If you’re working in the wide-open space with no walls around you, are you concerned that someone may see what you’re doing? Does “competition” try to see your newest project? What about having a private conversation? Do you have to scurry to find a place to do so? People are always walking around talking on their cell phones; i overhear many conversations that are none of my business! I’m curious how others feel about having wide-open conversations.

If you utilize these open co-working spaces, what do you do about your belongings? Of course, if this is your style,, you are probably somewhat of a nomad and don’t need a “home away from home,” as many of us view our work spaces. But, what do you do if you regularly use a particular co-working space or your office is part of a flex space operation? I like being able to leave some things at the office, knowing they’ll be there for me in the future.

I’d love to hear from people about how they enjoy these new non-traditional work spaces.