Office Space

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/dvd/fox/officespace/Office3_L.jpgSince we just moved up a floor at work last week, and have been preparing and packing and designing for months before that, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of the modern office.  One might easily argue that its purpose is now obsolete:

·        *  It was once for status, but we have become more egalitarian.

·        *  It was once the sole location for the best tech (remember that Cyber Monday became a thing because people only had high-speed Internet access at work) but now we have equally good tools in their pocket. 

·        *  And, it was once to make sure workers were working and not slacking, and that they were all working at the same time and place, but now we are self-motivated and asynchronous and untethered. 

So what’s left?  Well, human contact still matters, and not just formal meetings but the serendipity of conversations across desks and at water coolers.  Furthermore, no matter how inherently hard-working we are, being in an office provides an accountability layer that helps people stay on task better than if they were at home or in a coffee shop.  On a related note, the office for me becomes a way that I can draw a clearer line between work and non-work time – of course sometimes I do work tasks at home and non-work tasks at work, but having specific space designated for work allows me to be more focused while I’m there and more unplugged when I’m not. 

In our case, we are far bigger than one or two people but far smaller than thousands.  And, we genuinely enjoy our work and each other.  So it makes for a pleasant work environment, even as we are faced with difficult tasks and stressful deadlines.  Still, I suspect that no matter what the organization, having an office, and having it be a physical nice and well-organized one, will continue to be important to both efficiency and happiness.
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