Yesterday afternoon one of my groups changed from the furthermost distant classroom to something a bit more spacious. Room G to Room 8.
There are pros and cons, as ever. The new room is much larger. That is good. As it happens we talked about factors most disturbing to our fellow workers and classmates, and not having enough space was high on the list. Most office workers crave more desk space (or a desk, in fact, if they are hot-desking). It is, of all frustrating factors, the most frustrating.
Second in the list of frustrations, and highest if you only count how often (and now how vocally) workers complain about it, is noise pollution. This is a con, where the move to room 8 is concerned. Room 8 faces the road, and on a summer afternoon you want the window open, and opening the windows lets the traffic and above all the ambulances into the classroom. Not literally, but still. Students with weak attentional filters will suffer. Room G, on the other hand, is in the remotest, quietest corner of the school, over-looking the garden.
So, noisier, but also larger. My students can spread their endless bits of paper across acres of table, but won’t be able to hear a word I say. Perhaps that’s a plus, who knows? Workers don’t complain much if at all about difficulty interacting with their fellow workers. And then, room 8 has a computer and a projector, I am not forced to write on the board. There is more light in room 8 (not so high on the list of workers’ complaints, as it happens), and, with the windows open, it is a bit cooler (because larger: a smallish room with five adults in it, their brains pumping out calories, is never going to be the freshest).
So, what is the net effect on productivity? Probably positive, I think. But I might be saying that because I get to stand by the computer and look out at Hills Road. Looking out of the window and punching a keyboard (not simultaneously, but alternately) is a key element to my own productivity.