Friday, October 9, 2009

Where's Your Office?

Remember when the words, “I’m going to the office,” meant that you were actually going to an office?

Last week we talked about how often you see your colleagues. You weighed in, and while most of you said you see your colleagues infrequently (if you missed it cast your vote here), many of you were quite happy with that arrangement. This week, let’s talk about your office – if you still have one.

When you tell people that you work for a large corporation, chances are that most of them assume that you work in a traditional office building, with nice furniture, windows, and a great cafeteria. This was certainly true for me for many years. Well, close to true – at times my office was in a plant site, and the furniture was well used, and I didn’t always have windows. And the cafeteria – we’ll save that for another time. But the point is I had an office that I went to every day – with a desk and a door.

In the early years I shared the space with one or two others, but it was reasonably private. Even the colleagues I knew who worked in the “field” as sales reps or field engineers, had a place they called the office. For some this was a branch office, and for others it was an office in a customer location.

My best office was the first office I had all to myself. It was small, but in a new building, and I had a window!

My worst office? That one is easy – it was a cubicle with 4-foot high walls in a large open area. The noise is what got to me – a constant drone of conversations. It was like clutter (and anyone who knows me knows I hate clutter). If the doctor’s office called, everyone knew about it. If you were having a bad day, everyone knew about it. If you were desperate enough for privacy you could sign up to use a tiny windowless walled in cell – not for the cluster phobic. I hated that office so much that when I learned we were moving back to traditional space I took my phone and my computer to my new office and worked on the floor for a week while waiting for my furniture and boxes to arrive.

Today’s workspaces come in so many shapes and sizes that it may be hard to poll, but let’s try. Please pick the answer that is closest – for the majority of your workdays. If you are no longer working in Corporate America, pick the answer that represents your last workspace before escaping.

Where do you work most often?

Share your best or worst office space stories with a comment.

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