Through The Looking Glass


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.


Related:

(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

    One thought on “Through The Looking Glass

    1. Many thumbs up. Every time I walk past my HR person's office I get a little uncomfortable because *everyone* can see who is in there speaking with her with the door closed. I think I would speak to her myself a little more often if there was a bit more privacy.

      Like

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