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The Joys of an Open Plan Office

Usually my working day is accompanied by the low hum of the air conditioning system.  On a good day, when it’s working properly, it’s reminiscent of being on an airplane, and I daydream of being whisked off to somewhere more exotic than yet another spreadsheet.  When it’s malfunctioning though it has a tendency to sound like a spaceship about to land on the roof. Of course this could just mean I’ve been looking at said spreadsheets just a little bit too long…

There’s also the usual office noises, which helps to distract me from thoughts of invading little green men. Phones ringing.  Impromptu meetings at the surrounding desks. The random burst of applause coming from the next section as another leaving presentation is made. Or on rare occasions an eerie silence befalls us.  At which point we become accurately aware that everyone can hear our conversations.

Last week though there was a new sound to add to the list; the irritating tap-tap tap-tap of table tennis in the next section. I have to admit it’s a strange problem to have in the office.

To be fair it was just for one day.  It was part of the company’s programme to encourage us to get more active and promote sports.  From the laughter and cheering that was going on in the next section I’d say they had a great time joining in the fun. 

And in case you’re wondering what my department did for this event…  We all joined in a group wide activity of muttering under our breath at every cheer that drowned out the person on the other end of our phone calls.  “Could you repeat that please, I couldn’t hear you over the table tennis game,” was an interesting phrase to find yourself saying.  Repeatedly.