According to The Economist, the office that we know today may be splitting into a tiered system. Meaning, “first-class passengers” will get perks and amenities, and “coach passengers” will be lucky to have a desk. I’m sorry, but this is as ridiculous as the open office space concept, which fell on its face because employees had no private personal space or peace and quiet.
While hot desking is on the rise – the practice of allocating desks to workers when they are required or on a rotating system, rather than giving each worker their own desk – I know someone who works in this environment and she is miserable. Why? Because she has no dedicated private personal space where she can display family photos, store Kleenex tissues in a drawer, and enjoy her green plant; and she has no Peace and quiet.
When I worked in Corporate America, there were days when the 5×7 picture on my desk of my cat playing with a string was my only source of joy. In addition, a class structure at work does nothing to foster employee engagement. Do people yearn to be connected to something bigger than themselves? Yes. But the way to do it is not via shared or floating office space. You get people to feel connected to something bigger than themselves by ensuring that everyone has goals that are aligned to the CEOs goals, so everyone is walking forward arm in arm toward the same North Star.
I don’t know who thinks up these novel, new ideas for workspaces, but in my opinion they are a gimmick to sell more office furniture. That’s it. In many cases, they do not benefit employees – your greatest asset – they benefit Office Depot.
WHAT CAN I DO? If your Facilities Management group wants to reconfigure your office space, recommend that they conduct a focus group. The best people to determine how an office should be configured are your employees, as they are the ones who have to work in the space day in and day out. Ask employees their thoughts and then execute on their feedback. If they want to be treated like coach passengers, so be it. But I don’t know anyone who would choose coach over first class. Do you?
SPEAKING OF FIRST CLASS, I VALUE BALANCE AND TIME OFF, SO A BLOG WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED NEXT WEEK. I’LL BE BACK THE FIRST WEEK IN JANUARY AND WISH EVERYONE A MAGICAL HOLIDAY SEASON. MY BEST TO YOU AND YOURS, JILL
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.