When clients and other visitors come to our office, they are often surprised by our office setup. Admittedly, it is a little unconventional, particularly if you do not work in tech. Here’s an outline of what you might see when you come to the Radial Development Group offices and the reason behind the layout and setup we have.
Open Office Full of Desks
The first difference you’ll probably notice is that all of the desks are in one main room, almost side-by-side. This is because of the collaborative nature of our work. Being in close proximity with each other allows us to easily ask for and receive help from others. However, we understand the need for privacy too, so we have a conference room, outdoor patio set, and friendly coffee shop close by for those times we want a little more quiet or a change of scenery.
Dual Monitors at Every Workstation
Each desk has two monitors displaying the same screen, with two keyboards and trackpads. This is because Radial encourages pair programming, which is when two developers work together on the same code. Each person at the desk has the ability to “drive”, that is, control the screen without having to pass a keyboard or trackpad back and forth. This allows us to easily help one another on challenging problems and improves focus, resulting in better code quality.
Three whiteboards decorate the walls in our small space. One is used to remind us what should go in our daily and weekly status updates. Another is used for outlining which employees are assigned to particular projects for the week. The last is used for brainstorming coding problems.That way we can look up at any time and find a resource for what we should be doing, or walk a few steps to a whiteboard and work through a problem together.
The Giant Safe
Visitors often comment on the enormous safe in our office. Our office building is an old train depot in downtown Loveland, and the safe from it is still here. It is too heavy to move, so we have made it part of our decor. We store office supplies in it, and a healthy supply of nerd games like Catan, Carcassonne, and Saboteur, for breaks and lunchtime play. The safe also securely stores our office supplies, and other fun trinkets.
We have a full bookcase. It seems like almost any time someone asks a big-picture question (not just something that can be Googled quickly, but something more focused on a language or architecture pattern), our founder Ben will go to the bookshelf, pull out a book, and say “go read this”. It’s nice to have these resources easily available.
Multiple Coffee Makers
You might ask the question “Why do you have more than one coffee maker?” The answer is simple. Not all of us drink caffeine, but we all love coffee. We have two coffee grinders and two coffee machines so that we can have one dedicated to each, and we can make two kinds of coffee at once. Which do you prefer, decaf or caffeinated?
Our favorite new toy is the white noise machine. We understand that everyone working in one room can be distracting at times, especially if there is a meeting going on in the attached conference room. To solve this problem, we have a white noise machine near the door to the conference room so we can turn it on and each room will not disturb the other.
Next time you’re in the area, come by, say hi, and let us know if there’s anything else about our office that stands out to you!