Time to re-think the office, especially if you have a decorating budget and are planning in post-pandemic terms. Recent trends go in two different directions. There’s the IKEA look with its stark lines and emphasis on the thin and flimsy. And there’s the Dragnet look which was modeled after a police precinct interrogation room.
The Ikea look is modern and functional but tends toward the wobbly and is hard to assemble. The instructions come from the same countries of origin as the pieces. So you can choose between Swedish and Vietnamese. Translations not included. Of course, you may want no assembly required. In which case the Dragnet look may be more your taste.
Don’t be fooled by those battered precinct desks. If major musical instrument makers can sell new guitars and pianos that are intentionally made to look like they’ve been through shooting wars and bus crashes, so can desk makers. In one case, you can even get a reclaimed mahogany desk with names carved into the top and drawers full of new-old-stock lint and dust.
But before you go furniture shopping it’s wise to think a bit about what your office is supposed to accomplish. If it’s efficiency, we suggest a third look, the phone booth.
The phone booth is ideal for small spaces or large numbers of employees and anticipates further pandemics by being sealable. Phone booths have doors, unlike cubicles and battered desks. They keep gossip to a minimum. They’re tall, so plenty of room for shelves, but not too much room. They’re portable if you’ve found it’s cheaper to move than pay rent. They’re easy to clean. And they’re cozy.
Your CFO has a hoarding problem? No problem. There isn’t room for much storage so she’s going to have to decide what to keep and what to throw. In most financial offices, keeping too much stuff leaves you open for criminal charges with police get warrants to search the place.
Here’s something many offices can eliminate: the conference room. Have your in-house meetings via booth-to-booth Zoom or closed-circuit TV. They start on time, run shorter and end faster. Plus you can always turn on the cameras to see who’s sleeping on the job.
Use the typical conference area to put up a garden shed with a refrigerator, a coffeemaker and a microwave. They make ideal breakrooms. And they, too, are portable.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WR 2021