The Ultimate Pairing Desk

Vanessa and Marianna pairing

Pairing is an every day activity at MetaGeek

We believe that two heads are better than one. Pairing together to work on a project is better than having a meeting with half a dozen people to discuss how a project could be implemented. At MetaGeek, we’ve taken the concept of “pair programming” to the next level by outfitting every single employee with a custom-designed Pairing Desk.

A few years ago while preparing to move to a new office I googled “agile office design” and stumbled upon a very cool desk design specifically for Pair Programming (link to wikipedia article). The concept struck me as brilliant, and a PDF of the desk design was available under the Creative Commons license so we took the design and built a couple prototypes. The original design wasn’t quite the right size for us, so we made a few modifications to better fit our office space and then had a local carpentry shop build two dozen MetaGeek Pairing Desks.

Prototype of MetaGeek Pairing Desk

First prototype of MetaGeek Pairing Desk

The MetaGeek Pairing Desk has a bump-out that splits the desk into ⅔, ⅓ sections. This allows the desk owner to use most of the space when working alone. When pairing, the “pair” person has ⅓ of the desk; the bump-out causes the two people to be slightly angled toward each other instead of bumping shoulders. We had the top and bottom of the desktop finished so that the desktop can be flipped over so bump can be on the left or the right of the desk. We are a Mac shop (and develop Windows software… go figure). Everyone at MetaGeek has either a 13″ MacBook Air or a 15″ MacBook Pro on a Rain Design laptop stand and a 27″ Apple Cinema Display on a Rain Design swivel stand, that can be quickly turned for either solo or pairing work.

MetaGeek Pairing Desk 1.0

MetaGeek Pairing Desk 1.0

The first version of the MetaGeek Pairing Desk used table legs from Ikea. We recently upgraded all the desk bases to Herman Miller Renew Sit-to-Stand Tables.

The MetaGeek Pairing Desks are a daily reminder to everyone on the team that we value collaboration and teamwork.

Jacob and Zach standing while pairing

Jacob and Zach standing while pairing

MetaGeek Pairing Desk 2.0

MetaGeek Pairing Desk 2.0

Dimensions for MetaGeek Pairing Desk

Dimensions for MetaGeek Pairing Desk