Culture defines office rules
Jason Fried and 37 Signals do a great job of creating an environment that promotes concentration and critical thinking. Because of that, they have a ongoing office policy that promotes "library rules". Read Jason's recent blog about it here:http://37signals.com/svn/posts/3357-an-office-with-library-rules
We at Eight Bit Studios have a completely opposite theory for what makes a great creative/collaborative environment. We are loud. We whiteboard in groups. We play doubles ping pong in the middle of our office space between pomodoro timers. We laugh, eat and drink with our clients. We do everything we can to promote a happy and healthy professional lifestyle. It keeps our team sharp, collaborative and best of all makes work fun! In a world where the best ideas come while you're singing in the shower, we do everything we can to foster our environment for moments of inspiration.
As a testament, just yesterday this sign was posted on our door from some building neighbors:
It just goes to show that there is no perfect recipe. Different people excel in different environments. As long as you're clear about who your company is from the beginning, the personalities that gravitate toward your culture will also thrive there.