It is natural for people to wish for their surroundings to be “bigger and better”, but I don’t believe that is always a positive thing.

My four siblings and I grew up in a two bedroom apartment, and I think the unavoidable sharing of space through childhood has made our relationships and bonds even stronger today.  If we would have all had our own rooms, we wouldn’t have benefited from that “forced togetherness” that close quarters bring.

I have seen teams of staff members become more cohesive and connected when their work areas were in close proximity.  Right now our admissions counselors all have desks in a small area lovingly known as “Cubeland”, but I believe they work together better than if they all had their own private office suites.  They may wish for doors and privacy, but I know from experience that there is a trade off with them.

In another example, our city council just moved into a beautiful new municipal campus.  The meeting room is a definite upgrade from the previous facility, but requires the use of a microphone for council meetings.  This will change the dynamics of meetings in unplanned for ways, and is one of the downsides of having more space.

While being cramped is never good, there is a fine line between positive closeness and too much space.  Aiming for an environment where ideas literally bounce off of each other, where others can hear your conversations and interject, and where you only have to tell your stories once to reach multiple people — well, I think there is a lot of good that comes from that.  Watch what you wish for regarding your environment.

— beth triplett

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