How to Make the Best of Shrinking Office Space

Mad Men‘s Don Draper has a desk, chairs, and a couch in his office. Plus, enough room to practice his golf putting skills, hold a meeting, and engage in inappropriate office behavior. If you’re a bigwig at your company, you may be lucky enough to have an office with a door, but the chances of a couch and place to practice your putting is pretty slim. If you’re not on the senior team? You’re lucky if you have your own three-walled cubicle. And, in many places, even the CEO is sitting at a shared table.

As office space premiums increase, employees’ personal space decreases, and it’s not all fun and collaborative. Oh sure, the one big open space in The Office allows Jim to torment Dwight more effectively, but not everyone is so creative. Instead, we get to hear things we shouldn’t.

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One thought on “How to Make the Best of Shrinking Office Space

  1. I’ve grown accustomed to small cubicle space and believe I can narrow down two requirements to make it successful for the employee as well as the employer who wishes to save money on office space (which they define as “fostering collaboration”).

    First, have mid-size height cube walls. High-enough so that when you are seated, you are protected from visual distractions, but low enough so that you can stand up and see who is in and who is out. Because I am not a jerk I will not actually be “collaborating” with any of these people out in the open and distracting others with our chatter. If we need to “collaborate” we do so in a conference room.

    Second, despite how mathematically challenging this may be, embark on the journey of placing departments that share similar elements next to each other rather than the absolute randomized seating I’ve seen. Customer Service and Sales talk on the phone a lot during the day. Perhaps they should be next to each other, not on either side of the Accounting Department with the workers that require quiet to think. Think of this as a way to showcase to your employees who have gone through a 12 step interview process that at some point during the process you actually learned something about what their jobs consist of 🙂

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