Office Vibes


What’s your office vibe like?

Just started a new job and it’s much more “serious” than my last. Everyone diligently working in silence, partners there all the time and deep in the mix.

Last office partners were there maybe 50% of the time or less, music on, very youthful. 

I’m glad to be at the new place and in a more focused environment but wondering what others have experienced?

May 23, 19 10:19 pm

Everything you can think of. I tend to prefer quieter offices. And i think those can also have fun vibes and a good atmosphere (without being distracting)

May 23, 19 10:29 pm

I'm waiting for the tech industries office vibes to hit architecture. who doesn't want beer, cold brew and kombucha on tap? and a masseuse in house?

May 23, 19 10:30 pm

Masseuse in house please

atelier nobody

I worked in one office that had snacks and an espresso machine, and dogs in the office. A massaged therapist would have made it perfect.

lol-ing at "massaged therapist" ... does the masseuse work on your therapist before, after, or during your appointments?

atelier nobody

Snort...good catch.


In some quieter places you will get ample opportunity to learn and even the people over their can enjoy their work.

May 25, 19 5:08 am
It ebbs and flows. Sometimes gets noisy when there is a lot of activity, people running around for deadlines etc. Happy hour every Friday can get rowdy. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with the partners, principals, and other higher level staff. We also have active working groups which focus on topics like facade design, computational and graphics, construction administration—these meet weekly and help keep the academic feel alive.
May 25, 19 8:31 am

How big is your firm and does it have a specialty? This is something we've tried to implement from time to time but we have a crazy workload that doesn't really allow that currently.


We are about 150. We mainly do residential towers.


The first firm I worked at had a lot of pranks going on. Messing with people's space when they left the room, trying to sneak up on the jumpier people and epic rubber band fights.

May 25, 19 11:41 am

First firm I worked at (starchitect) was relatively quiet, people worked hard and there was a feeling of trust and mutual respect. Beers on Friday and some socials.

Another firm I worked at was way too relaxed. People chatting the entire time, having coffee, browsing on facebook, doing online shopping. Offensive discriminatory jokes by the principals, bullying and slacking off. Zero team spirit. So glad I left.

David Bruce Lee probably knows both of these firms. :)

May 25, 19 4:02 pm
Non Sequitur

If I can't hear the sound of the coffee machine announcing a fresh pot, then it's too fucking loud.

May 28, 19 10:04 am

we've had keurig's at my past few firms and they supplied generic k-cups and you can smell the coffee


I've worked in a variety of office settings at all different levels of my career from a 65 person firm occupying (2) floors at 27,000sqft to 3 person startup in 900sqft. 

Only one I didn't care for much was a 45 person design build firm, the overall office vibe seriously was "we're are an elite group over here and everyone else in the world is eww over there"

May 28, 19 10:34 am

what's wrong with diligently working in silence, partners there all the time and deep in the mix if you care to explain? 

I'd rather give you the benefit of explaining before unleashing like I started.

May 28, 19 11:06 am

Is this a "when the cat's away, the mice will play" situation?


I worked in one office where the partner of that branch was a true tyrant - glaring menacingly at any hint of two people starting to converse about anything other than the project at hand, making snide comments about those who took a 5 minute coffee break or even spent what he considered to be too long in the bathroom, and disparaging anybody's ideas to the point that most were afraid to offer any thoughts about anything. Dare to turn on a radio?  You'd probably be fired.  Be seen wearing headphones and risk the appearance of not fervently awaiting his proclamations?  Also probably fired. 

Probably not too surprisingly, all the good design in that office happened when he was out of the office. There was a completely different mood then with a much better level of productivity, because everybody wasn't tense and living in fear, except of his eventual return. If that's the kind of situation you mean, then I sympathize - and strongly advise that you look for another job unless there's a realistic chance he'll retire within the next year. But if you just mean an office where the partners are regularly around and involved, and enjoy relative quiet... well that sounds like my kind of environment. How do I apply?


certainly looks that way. no wonder 'murica is in the shit state it is now....and the worst part is he would be offended if he's fired and a immigrant "diligent and quiet" is hired in his place.

Witty Banter

I think you're really jumping to conclusions here. The OP specifically said they are glad to be in this environment.


Nothing is wrong with the new place I’m just curious as to what others have experienced. I left my old firm where I was basically my own boss and managed my own portfolio of clients for an older and more established group. It’s a big change but happy to do be doing it.


Mix of both quiet and social. Its an "open concept" office and can get quite noisy when people are on conference calls and the noise can become a little distracting. 

Working culture is generally fairly relaxed with work/life balance but serious when it comes to crunch times, client meetings, and tight deadlines. Friday seminars with beer and snacks every week. 

Its surprisingly nice given that the firm is a huge multi-national corporate company. Or maybe its just specific to our regional office or could just be the standard work environment for architecture firms within the city were located in.

May 28, 19 3:02 pm

I've seen the whole gamut from firm to firm, and even within different areas/departments of the same larger firm.  I prefer quiet, so I don't do that well in large open offices with loud music, ringing phones, and constant chatter - but offices where people feel comfortable enough to have bouts of friendly conversation are good. The firms where people are afraid to break the silence are creepy. Partners or supervisors who are present and involved are usually better in terms of quality of the end product than firms where nobody knows to whom to ask questions, though micro-managers or control freak supervisors are worse than absent partners.

Some of the more difficult offices to work in for me have been the ones with very rigid rules driven by aesthetics - like not being allowed to keep anything on our desks or hang anything on the walls, or even not being allowed to have window shades. I've learned that if a firm looks everyday (such as the day on which you interview) like it did in the magazine photos of its brand new office space, it may not be the best working environment.  Then again, the most dusty offices with floor-to-ceiling rolls of blueprints dating to the dawn of the firm, doors for desks, and miles of shelves made of cinder blocks, with books from the 70s about solar panels... well some of those offices might be going for the absent-minded-professor aesthetic, but a lot of them are run (and I use that word loosely) by actual absent minded professors.

About 20 years ago, right before the tech bust, was when a lot of architecture firms started trying to copy tech firms' approaches to appealing to a younger, less formal workforce, and I still see that a lot.  I'm fine with the multi-colored blob furniture, unlimited beer on tap, sit-stand desks, sitting on a ball, cubicles made of floppy felt, and people who take after-lunch naps on yoga mats next to the movie-style popcorn machine. All those offices seem to get just as much work done as their more traditional counterparts, though they don't look as professionally confidence-inspiring in their Christmas card photos. But I'm not really clear on whether this office type does appeal to younger people - most of the nappers and popcorn-eaters are 50 year old guys who spend just as much time talking about back when they were a young whippersnapper as any of the 80 year old former partners in the most traditional firms.  Also I've never liked that this type of office always seems to encourage people to throw things, as if constantly dodging projectiles is the literal proof of "dynamic design"  (basketball hoops are another sign I look for in interviews, of an annoying workplace.)

May 29, 19 11:22 am

I'm self-employed but I do contact work occassionally for a firm so I'll describe them. Office is not fancy... stacks of paper everywhere. Work is high quality and wel-executed but not cutting edge. Everyone is always smiling and willing to answer questions. No culture of setting and putting out fires. Principals actually look at the drawing sets which is something different for me.

May 31, 19 10:10 am

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