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I am new developer at large company, and my workplace is completely silent at least 90% of the time. All of my coworkers in my area are also developers.

I am in an office with ~20 people, where there are 2-3 conversations daily, and maybe 3-4 phone calls. Around half of the conversations/calls are work related.

I understand how important it is for developers to have blocks of "do not disturb" time, so that they can actually get work done, but there seems to be an abnormal amount of silence in my work area.

Is it normal for a software related workplace to be so quiet?

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    Different workplaces have different levels of noise. I know a lot of people who would love that situation but personally I would want to slit my throat. – HLGEM Nov 28 '16 at 23:09
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    I went for an interview at a company like that. I left and I thought "I really, really do not want to work at this place". I looked at the people there, and they looked just sad. – gnasher729 Nov 28 '16 at 23:13
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    @JoeStrazzere I want to know if this is considered "normal" because at first glance it doesn't seem to be, and "abnormal" situations tend to lead to confusion (such as this). Also, if this sounds like something detrimental to the success of the company, I sure as hell would like to find out. It's not about what "I want" but rather what I want for the company's best interest. – Prodnegel Nov 28 '16 at 23:59
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    I wish it was normal at my company. If I could get 30 minutes of silence I would already feel blessed! – Jeroen Nov 29 '16 at 8:49
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    Might it be the case that they use (even some company internal) messaging to communicate? In a company I worked for we did this a lot, even sitting in the same room, as our discussions (be they work or private topics) this way would not disturb the others in the same room. And it is easier in development, to paste some snippet and explain. – skymningen Nov 29 '16 at 9:51
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Different workplaces have different rules. And yes, different setups.

The fact that you hear very little chatter would alarm me, as software engineering is a team activity. But then I remembered that at my workplace from five years ago, we didn't do a lot of talking either but the LAN-wide chat and the internal email traffic were fast and furious. We really reserved face to face talks and phone conversations to the small percentage of situations that had to be escalated (*).

To answer your question: the lack of chatter in your office doesn't mean a thing if they have alternative modes of communication and they are using them. I'll give you an analogy: the fact that you see a duck idly floating on the water doesn't mean that the duck's legs are not frantically paddling under the water's surface.

(*) Our office layout was open floor, so hearing somebody else's conversation easier than super easy, and it could be disruptive to your attempt to focus on the problem you are working on. In addition, more than a few people are like me in that their voice is loud and carries all the way to the floor exits. We quickly went to chat and email, not least because the Vice-P of Sales expressed discontent at standup meetings that both he and his prospects could not help but be startled and discomfited whenever they heard any of our senior technical staff, including myself, explode and yell "FUCK!" at the top of their lungs over something that had gone South as he was making his approach and sales pitch to the client. Chat and email fulfill my need to coordinate with the team without me driving them crazy with my voice - That was 2005-2012, which is antedeluvian in terms of currently available online team collaboration tools.

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    Don't know why you were downvoted...I do hear people mention the instant messenger and email pretty often, I guess that is where most of the communication goes down. Love that duck analogy – Prodnegel Nov 28 '16 at 23:55
  • @Prodnegel - There is always what we charitably call "a critic" on this forum. Nobody knows what they do or what they think. The only way we know they've been around is when they poop the downvotes. Adding insult to injury is when they make uninformed commentary on top of their downvotes. – Vietnhi Phuvan Nov 29 '16 at 0:22
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    I don't tend to IM people if they're sitting just a few feet away. Face to face talking (at least to me) often produces better results than an IM session. It's also good on an interpersonal level too. – Snow Nov 29 '16 at 10:28
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    @Pete You are that annoying person that keeps interrupting me. With an IM or mail I can respond when I am not concentrating – Mark Nov 29 '16 at 11:10
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    I downvoted this because you a) appear to be bump-editing the post to gain votes and b) you edited out my spelling correction of "antediluvian" and replaced it with a mis-spelling. – Snow Nov 29 '16 at 14:50
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Everywhere is different. If everyone had there own separate tasks to do and/or communicates digitally then this wouldn't concern me at all. I've worked 10 hour days with no human contact at all except for half an hour once a week when they dropped off supplies without it affecting my work or morale.

And these days some people have extremely busy social lives through a computer screen or phone. And plenty more just work for the money and socialise after work, quite often with totally different people.

So unless you notice something more dysfunctional about your workplace. I wouldn't worry about it too much. If you're an outgoing sort of person, feel free to start conversations, just don't be offended if you're snubbed.

Generally when everyone else is content with the way things are, it's not a great idea to be disruptive. And if only one person has an issue with it, it doesn't mean the rest are weird. So if you find a kindred spirit in there then converse away.

  • This makes me sad...truthfully makes me wonder if I want to continue as strictly a Developer – Prodnegel Nov 29 '16 at 23:16

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