enter image description here

I had been rejecting jobs in the past which had tables with such arrangement like in the picture. I mean when there is no partition by which you could have privacy from another person seeing you constantly.

But the problem is - I see many big companies, which might be good jobs have such seating.

It is especially hard when I feel very stressed and feel shame to show I am so much stressed. And its bad when you have to give up good job just because seating arrangement.

I usually avoid sitting that way in public transport also. Sometimes I try to sit for a bit - to train myself. Usually I get stressed after that, so when I know I need to feel relaxed, I avoid those training. This happens not with all people. Mostly happens with young, cool people. With old people its easier. Also with my family members its not big deal if its not too close face to face. Same is with girls, they are surprised why I avoid eye contact. But with some who I spend more time, I try to get eye contact and after long time I get used, also because I know that girl likes me the way I am if she is long time with me.

Some say that I would get used. Maybe this is true. Maybe with some guys who like me I could get used. But if there sits a guy who does not like me, and is angry at me often, then I am really not sure.

In some companies they state that monitor will hide my face and people are not staring at me all the time, they have work and they look at their monitors. Which is true.

I might hide behind monitor, but I am afraid that I would not start to hunch.

And also in the IT industry I believe I should not be alone who has problem with eye contact. So I do not get why offices are that way when they know that not all IT guys are good at social interactions.


My question is - have you any suggestions how could I solve this problem? How to feel better? Or maybe solve it somehow technically?

  • 12
    I doubt there is much we can say here that would really help you. I suggest you talk to an occupational therapist or psychologist about how you are feeling and how to overcome it. They are trained professionals to help with issues like this.
    – mikeazo
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 11:35
  • 3
    You did not use a question mark,a clear sign that you are missing an actual question. Do you have a question?
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 11:36
  • 4
    As @mikeazo syggests, seek professional help - face-to-face is pretty much the standard in open offices, especially in european countries (where cubicles are rare). Every job I have had in the past 17 years in IT has been sat at desks laid out as per your diagram - its completely per the norm.
    – user34687
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 11:39
  • 2
    Get more monitors, 3 times 24+'' should do the trick.
    – Peter
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 12:20
  • 2
    Wear mirrored sunglasses. Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 12:43

5 Answers 5


I have a seating arrangement like this (it isn't a problem for me), for other reasons I requested a 2nd monitor and two monitor stands. My screen wall effectively forms a partition across the desk. The person who sits across from me has three monitors so we actually have to actively stand up to hold a face to face conversation.

In all honesty every job I have ever worked in has this style of seating (UK, cultures may vary) so it is probably a very common problem and one you'll struggle to avoid.

  • 3
    I shall invest in this answer. My two screens and my colleague's two screens prevent us from seeing 95% of the other person's desk. I really have to bend down and under, to have a glance at what are the general items on his desk, let alone have a chance at seeing something on a document or on his phone for instance. Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 11:41
  • +1 I have the same 2 monitors like everyone else no one can see me nor can I see them.
    – Kiwu
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 12:35
  • 1
    In addition to screens: magazine racks containing work-related publications or files (sit them on top of a paper draw if they need to be taller), clip stands (example) allowing you to strategically place family photos, notes, to-do lists etc, document holders (example), maybe even plants if your workplace allows it Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 15:10

Well, in my office the desktops are organized with the exact layout you describe (nice Paint skills!). And I'm afraid it's the case in many, many organizations.

There's a wall of monitors between me and the guys in front, so all I can say about them is that they are too young to go bald already (meaning I can only see the top of their head).

As for the person next to me, I sometimes peek at her screen when something catches my eye (like when she starts a video, or something really out of the ordinary), but I sure don't stare at whatever she does. And the opposite is true, I never caught her looking at my screen.

In the end, we all have work to do and way enough stuff to watch on our own screens.

I might be out of line, but you seem really shy, to a point it becomes harmful to you. Getting stressed in the bus is one thing, having trouble finding a job is another. Perhaps you should consider finding a therapist who could help you overcome this issue ?

  • Its not my paints skills, there was question about arrangement in this site and I copied picture link :) Btw in case you understood something wrong - I have no problem when someone looks at my screen from time to time. Problem is when look at my face. Therapist might be considered, the problem is that they are so expensive and questionable value. Partition or cubicle I think would be quick and fixed investment if all offices would allow. Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 13:08
  • Well if the problem is when someone looks directly at you, the wall screen will make sure you're fine :) Make sure your screens are high enough (they should be anyway, it's good for your neck), and problem solved :)
    – undu
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 12:28
  • are you really sure that screen being high is good? maybe good for neck, but does it not get you tired more when you have to keep focused your viewing angle up? Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 12:38
  • Well, I'm not an ergonomics expert, but basically your eyes should be at the same height that the top of your screen.
    – undu
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 13:40

The advice about getting multiple monitors is good. If you need an even bigger screen, you could build one. I used black foam board to add a screen above my monitors. I use push pins to attach artwork. This way, instead of people thinking I'm anti-social, they will just know that I enjoy having artwork around my monitor.

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I really understand you. I do not have a problem as much with people facing me, but I work with a door behind me (it's an entry door from the street). Even though it is usually locked, I am quite anxious about it being there. This contributed to my leaving the job certainly.

I also hassle with the open floor plan, and even though we have mostly IT people in the room, our boss is on the phone a lot.

The proposed two- or multi-screen solutions might help. I would talk about your problem. If the company wants you, they might well adjust. If the do not adjust, they might just not value or understand their personel.


Unfortunately this seating arrangement is fairly common everywhere. The idea of cubes are long gone with developers mainly because a lot of times they want things to be open/social so that problems and solutions can be developed.

The open office arrangement can be unsettling with the idea that everyone can stare at someone else. However, most people do not care enough to be sitting there staring at people all day. So you can rest assure nobody is looking at you all day.

You bring up a lot of random points. Social situations can be terrifying to some but you're bringing up a lot of random, completely unrelated things. I'm not even sure what you're really asking. There is no way to go to a office place and say you dislike the seating arrangement and demand a certain configuration. You'll be passed. Just as same you can't go into a office and build a artificial wall to seal you from others.


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