At the beginning of February, my group at work moved into a new building. Technically it’s an old building but it was completely gutted and renovated. Instead of most people having their own office (or sharing with one other person), we now sit in big open areas. The only personal space you have is a rolling desk with your computer on it. The idea is that you can easily unplug and roll to sit next to whoever you’re working with. There are no walls between you and your teammates so you can chat more easily.
I have to say that I loved having my own office and I’m not a huge fan of the change. There are definitely some advantages especially when it comes to pair programming or just asking quick questions. But overall I find it pretty distracting and it also makes it more difficult to handle the quick personal phone calls like scheduling doctor appointments, etc.
It sounds like all of the buildings on campus are moving toward this so there’s no getting away from it. This stuff goes in phases so I’m sure in 10-20 years we’ll all be moving back into our own offices because that’s the cool new thing.