Tear down the walls, literally
Walls in work areas can hurt direct and indirect communications for dynamic, fast-paced teams and projects. Without a wall, lift your head, get an answer, and return to work.
We got rid of cubicle walls around the same time we started moving people constantly according to their teams and projects. We didn’t do this for the whole office, but we realized that for our teams that work in a dynamic, fast paced environment, walls were hurting direct and indirect communications.
Lift you head up, see who’s out there to help, ask your question, get your answer, and go back to work. There is no need to get up and wander around if there are no walls. This may provide lots of short distractions but if you really need to focus, you can put on your headphones or ear plugs as a visual “do not disturb” sign.
Quick impromptu meetings are easier for the same reason. It’s as simple as “Hey, come here, see this?” or “What are you up to? I don’t think that’s the right direction.” We don’t have to wait until tomorrow to find out time has been wasted.
If you’re the project manager or team lead, and there is a delay in those familiar typing and clicking noises, your spider senses start to tingle. It’s easy to ask – “Hey are you stuck?”
People venting and getting frustrated is always visible. If someone’s stuck, anyone on the team can see this and help. A face that is frustrated or unsure can’t be hidden without walls. “Stuck” time is lower and people are back to work before you know it.
Sure there is more noise and sometimes you need to move to a different area for a client call or to focus on a task, but walls impede a healthy team environment – tear them down.
- The Control Engineering “Automation System Integration” blog is written by Anthony Baker, a fictitious aggregation of experts from , providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration. The blog provides Callisto Integration advice in plant-floor controls, manufacturing execution systems (MES), and manufacturing consulting, from the factory floor through to the enterprise. Andrew Barker, P.Eng., Callisto Integration, compiled the advice. See additional posts at .
- Events & Awards
- Magazine Archives
- Oil & Gas Engineering
- Salary Survey
- Digital Reports
Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey