I’m still with the same company, but we recently moved to a new office. Lots of great changes are afoot and this is the third office we’ve worked out of in the two years I’ve been there…and the third office in a row with no private rooms. The issue of privacy bugged me a bit before I had a kid, but now that I am a working and pumping mother it has become absolutely crucial. I need a clean, quiet, and wired (electrical and internet) place to pump for 20 minutes, two times a day. I can pump hands-free so whenever possible I’d like to be able to take my laptop with me and keep on Leaning In and shit. I’d like to know that I can sit somewhere, undisturbed and un-spied on for forty minutes a day. I can only imagine there are other people, pumping and non, who would like the same.
Transparency is good. Open doors and visible co-workers, that’s all great. But sometimes we need privacy. Sometimes we need to have uncomfortable conversations, sometimes we need to hammer out the details of Top Secret Project X. Why do media/tech companies keep designing offices where that can’t (shouldn’t?) happen?
I recently heard this interview on CBC’s Radio Q with architect Raphael Sperry who’s organized other architects to stop designing solitary confinement cells in prisons. He says that architects have a social responsibility to uphold human rights. I agree with him wholly (in fact I think architects should stop designing prisons full stop!), and I’d argue that architects also have a responsibility to push for spaces that work for many different types of use cases, not just when 20-something year old dudes are programming together, drinking beer and getting along famously with no need for any privacy. I don’t know any companies where that is the case all day long, five days a week, do you?
If you have any thoughts, just ping me. I’ll be sitting on the bathroom floor pumping.
(WSJ) Indecent Exposure: The Downsides of Working in a Glass Office
(BusinessWeek) Working Moms Need More Than Subsidized Breast Pumps
(Yahoo Finance) A woman’s place is in the home and the office: The case for breastmilk pumping stations in public spaces
(Why Is Her So Stroppy Blog) The silent breast pump and other lies by power mums