How does one get a window office at Microsoft?

Offices with windows are distributed according to years of service, not according to seniority or position on the management ladder. When group moves, it receives a block of offices which usually consists of approximately 50/50 mix of window and inner offices. 50/50 is not a rule, it is just how Microsoft buildings are constructed [:)]. List of team members is sorted by the years of service and window offices are dirstributed according to the list.

Groups with higher number of senior developers may receive a bit more window offices. Our team is fairly senior. A few weeks ago we celebrated our development manager's 15 years anniversary. At least three more developers in the team are past 10 years mark. So we have maybe 70% window offices and 30% inner ones. I got my first window office after approximately 5 years at Microsoft (this year is my 8th year here).

Typically each developer has individual office with a door. If group grows, it may eventualy run out of offices. Until group moves to a new location, some devs may get doubled, i.e. two people may be sitting in the same room. Doubling typically happens in the reverse order, but seniority in this case is taken into account, so years of services play smaller role.

Since senoirity and management position typically correlates with how long person worked for the company, managers and architects usually sit in window offices. However, I know a few who don't. My guess is that they probably joined Microsoft at the senior position, but haven't worked long enough to get to the window office. I think if someone joins Microsoft at VP position, then he or she might get a window office immediately, but it is generally an exception to the rule.

If someone who counted enough years moves to another team and the team does not have window office available, newcomer might have to wait until team moves or more window offices become available in the same building/floor. Typically people are not getting bumped out of the window office simply because someone more senior joins the team. However, during the move sometimes people do lose the window.


Comments (12)

  1. zzz says:

    I believe after you stare monitor/books long enough you are going to need glasses eventually. I’ve noticed that after 10 years of this I focus eyes to my monitor’s distance even when closing them and going to sleep. I vaguely remember I did not focus to such close distance constantly years ago.

    So MS should really put a billion $ to create a display which can be looked at as if the stars in the sky were the pixels of the display sort of. This would either prevent the need for lasering your eyes later and could possibly help re-adapt eyes to focus further away without need to laser them.

    How this relates to windowless office? Well I don’t know but those suck.

  2. LarsBerg says:

    Of course, don’t forget the occasional folks who don’t like window offices and turn them down for interior. The temperature regulation (especially on south-facing window offices) tends not to be as solid in windows as on the interior offices.

    Also, if you’re part cave troll like me and usually leave the window blinds closed all day long, it’s easy to feel guilty and sorry for the poor person on the inside who would’ve gotten more use out of it!

  3. But of course! In fact, our admin assistant has been with Microsoft for more than 20 (!) years and still preferref inner office. I just meant to describe general practice.In fact, my window faces east so it is too sunny and sun reflects too much in the monitor so I have to keep blinds 80% closed on sunny days. I sit with my back facing the window, which is stupid since I am not enjoying the view of Cascades! 🙂

  4. lexp says:

    Why company with multibillion revenues can not build only 100% window offices?

  5. xyzzy says:

    Then there are some groups which are grossly mismanaged at the GM level. The group I’m working in had a huge window office imbalance between developers and testers; developers w/ 5 years of experience were given interior offices, while testers w/ 1 year of seniority were handed windows offices (or even worse, an admin within 1 month of being hired gave herself a window office).

    This ended up being fixed, but only after a couple years of complaints.

  6. Mikhail Arkhipov explains how the employees who score the windows offices are chosen. In my group, higher-up

  7. Mikhail Arkhipov explains how the employees who score the windows offices are chosen. In my group, higher-up managers (regardless of tenure) are offered window offices … although we did have a Director once who turned her window office down because she

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