If you went to school during the 70’s you may have had some variation of a wooden desk, table combo. They are coming back into fashion. The future chair –desk-laptop-rest combo reminds me of dentists visits, where I could see an up close x-ray of my teeth, not a pretty picture. If you have a desk chair combo you can recline to work, or go to sleep. I am very fond of naps, they should be part of every office culture.
Definitely having your chair connected to your desk will physically slow you down. I don’t know how many times I wanted to stand up and ended up folded over my chair feet in the air, like a twisted pretzel. Okay, so I didn’t go to the best school, and maybe I was too big for the desk. We never got new furniture and every generation scratched their names into the wooden desks like prisoners. We sometimes had assigned seats, but mostly we were told “Just sit anywhere”, which we did, but only because our favourite chair was taken by someone who didn’t seem to know that that was unofficially our chair.
That is the concept of "hoteling" in business. You don’t have your own desk. You share a desk with colleagues on a first come gets-the-desk-and-chair basis. Who needs an office or personal space? We could always work from home, where we pay the electricity.
Office spaces are changing constantly. I remember my first desk, it was attached to the chair and it had a top drawer. I also had a locker. A locker is a small metal or wooden cabinet with a lock, where you can put your personal possessions. It really wasn’t big enough for a coat, but I managed to jam my coat inside the locker in the winter.
Hoteling means you have less things to gather up when you leave. You come in with your laptop, devices and toothbrush, use the facilities and leave.
The open office plan has been around since the 60’s.
Some people believe that all you need to work effectively is your computer, or other devices. Some believe that being in close proximity of your co-workers is a good thing, you can make eye contact and share ideas by the very expensive three-story latte machine. Sunlight and privacy seem to be luxuries that these big metal and glass skyscrapers don’t offer. They seem to have two seasons, freezing cold and hellish heat.
There are perhaps benefits no one has thought of:
If you have less space you can lay down a piece of material, perhaps a towel as plush wall to wall carpet.
You can put a pillowcase on the pin board and pretend there’s a window behind it.
You can wall paper with colourful post-its.
You can use dental floss to string together a dream catcher. –that’s artful!
Perhaps another positive development is that high level managers are being given a cubical to make the workspace more democratic. Because, plenty of workers want the cubical next to their boss. If that doesn't sound like winning the lottery to you, maybe becoming a Ho- is a better option.
ANNABELLE B-BAUMANN, Communication Coach
"Annabelle I've learned alot from you .....with your friendly art and your diversified lessons... it is never boring!!!" -Doris
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