Monday, 13 September 2010

Office Disruption

Having you space in the office messed around with  feels like getting evicted from your house onto the street, repeatedly. I haven't ever been kicked onto the street by a cruel and calous landlord, but I imagine that it would be similar to having your routine slightly disrupted at work.
It seems that businesses can’t let you to go three weeks without some huge scheduled clearout, desk move, refit or full-on demolition.

Executives work best when left to nest in their own space like dogs rolling around in a bed with their favourite filthy blanket.

Yes it’s nice to keep the place tidy for those occasions when respectable clients enter the hovel that is your department, but companies need to stop messing with our space every five seconds.

In American offices, the ‘cube’ is a sacred place for each worker. Whilst the 5ft high chipboard dividers may not fully block out the sights and sounds of the office, you can pin up photos, throw stuff on the floor and put your feet up on the desk. Cube farms obviously have some benefits but allowing this added privacy (not widely accepted in the UK) can render the office a dark and lonely place leaving only Twitter for company. Maybe they don’t allow cube roofs as it would provide a secure point to attach the noose to.

Whilst the feng shui of my 2’ by 4’ office home is regularly disrupted, I do agree that ‘front of house’ must look professional. Media companies are well known for spending millions on floating staircases and owning more plasma displays than Dixon’s, but a reception with a modern feel helps promote a sense of trust and respect with clients and partners.

The problems can start when firms with tight budgets don’t think through the refurb. This executive’s Soho office is falling apart at the seams and is undergoing a spectacularly ill conceived spruce up. Clients will walk into a beautiful reception with all the trimmings (iPad iPads iPads), but there will be no meeting rooms, and little place to sit. Surely the frilly façade of office beauty will come tumbling down when these people are moved to a dingy walnut clad 1980s basement for their presentation. When all of the building work is going on, this executive will be asked to spend six weeks welcoming guests from the street in through a fire exit whilst sitting in the receptionist’s pocket. My home is being cannibalised by reception as the deafening jackhammers try to make space for swanky fixtures and uber-cool technology to be installed.

I’m off out to buy some ear defenders as the fluorescent jacketed Greggs brigade move in next week. We all feel like we are on death row waiting to see if the prosecutors will actually go through with the scheduled execution. You never know, sometimes well laid plans and allocated budgets come tumbling down at the last minute.