Binary.com's main software development centre is in the iTech Tower in Cyberjaya, where we have the entire 13th floor. We designed the layout of this office with software development in mind.
The two conflicting objectives we tried to reconcile were:
Providing developers with private offices where they can achieve flow - which is a mental state where a person performing an activity gets totally immersed in the activity, achieving very high productivity and performance. Certain activities such as performing music, running a marathon, or writing computer software, are known to achieve their best results when this state of flow (also known as "the zone") is achieved. When writing software, flow can be achieved typically either in a private office, or in a group setting when wearing earphones and listening to music.
Providing a common open-plan space where developers can discuss projects, work as a team, and do pair programming.
The resulting office layout is displayed below:
The small offices along the perimeter of the office are the private offices, which any developer can use at any time when they feel like working in a quiet environment to achieve flow.
We have found that this layout has worked well, because everyone is different, and it gives developers the flexibility to work in the environment that suits them best. Some developers like to work nearly full time in a private office, whereas others like to work full time in the common area, and some come and go between the two environments.