Our team works in an open-space office. Luckily the cubicles are quite big (L shaped tables for everyone!), there is quite a lot of space so we are not sandwiched. Without going into further detail, there are comfortable spots (window), normal spots and stupid spots (near the corridor).
Until recently, the development team of twelve engineers was seated so that all types of spots were occupied and we were all close together.
In the old arrangement, verbal communication was very easy - half of the team was withing talking distance. The other half was like ten steps away. Often times I could ask, discuss, solve problems without leaving the cube.
Most of the communication is work related, no bullshit or mental masturbation that would unnecessarily distract others.
Now we have moved to another part of the building and have larger space to occupy. At this point, everyone could pick their spot. Naturally all stupid spots are left empty (for the poor newcomers to occupy bwehaha).
In the new arrangement, the development team is stretched across the floor and some of the key engineers are seated 'far' from each other - definitely not within talking distance.
I have yet to experience how this works out but am getting concerned that team work and communication may have been traded for personal comfort.
Finally the questions...
What do you think is better office arrangement?
Such that allows for free verbal communication but trading for some developer's comfort, or such that potentially hinders verbal communication but makes developer's more comfortable in their spot? Or maybe it does not matter at all and we will evolve to be efficient in any arrangement?
What is your personal experience?
Note - yes I read books and posts how workplace is important in our job. However in this case - we are all still in open space and the difference between the different spots are not really groundbreaking. So I'm thinking the little comfort that few developers gain is not worth the loss of easy communication.