Submitted by webslinger on
This is more of a comment then a request for help. In past podcast and at the Atlanta Conference, Mark and Mike made the comment that you need to turn your desk so that nothing separates you from the people entering your office. I have almost always had a desk where someone can sit in my office with my desk between us. I moved my 2 desks that are in an ‘L’ share so that sitting at either desk faces you toward a wall.
Two things happened:
1. I got a lot of room back in the office. It opened up the room.
2. Within 15 minutes, it paid off. I was able to have 2 staff in my office at once and we could work together much easier. Everything from talking, to looking at the computer screen was much more personal.
We don’t need our desks between us and our directs. They already know we’re the boss because of the big flashing sign on our heads.
Thanks again for all the guidance.
I guess it depends what sort of message you're trying to send. Arranging the room so the manager is facing the door across their desk has always, in my mind, given the desk the character of World War One no-man's land. I almost expect to hear the clunk of a machine gun being cocked as I walk into the room.
My preference is to have the room arranged so the occupant is sitting side on to the door. They just need to turn their head to acknowledge someone coming in or speaking from the door.
Personally I have yet to achieve the dizzying heights required to have an office so am still sat out in the open plan office with everyone else (but then so is my boss and his boss). I have a strong dislike for open plan offices, mostly due to high levels of background noise and that air quality tends to be very poor (500 people in the same space with no substantial partitioning or effective air conn is not good). I like DeMarco and Lister's recommendation of rooming teams together, separate from unrelated teams.
Curious about this....
I'm curious about this. I have a few questions about this idea.
1. [b]Are there situations where this doesn't apply?[/b] I can see that a big desk could seem very imposing. But if you only have a small pre-fab type of "u" shaped work area is it really that important? What if a table just doesn't fit that well? They only have one size round office table. My office is only 12x9 and it would have to be right in front of the only door and white board I have! (Please don't suggest I ask them to buy a different table because we're laying off people and any purchase has to be signed by a VP right now. So that just won't happen!) Doesn't it make the person coming in either have to stand or really formalize it by making me have to move to the table? If they sit at the table, then I'd feel funny if I didn't move to it.
2. [b]What issues is this solving? Is it just the idea that a big desk intimidates someone? What else can I do to mitigate the issue that you are trying to remove here? [/b] Our office are pre-fab so it's very unlikely I could even get them to change. What else can I do?
3. [b]When would I move to the table if there is one?[/b] Even with a bigger office, I've found going it to it is awkward with the table. My boss has a bigger office with a table. If I just stop in to talk about something or get a call asking me to come by when I have a minute, it's awkward. There is no chair by the desk area. So, I'm kind of standing there unsure of where to go. I don't know if I should stand because it's short or go to the table because it will be longer. If I go to the table, is then he has to move to the table or talk to me across the room. If there was a chair by the work area, I'd perch in it. But the work area is against the wall and the only chairs are by the table. I feel lost in the space and end up leaning on the door entrance or the closed door.
Re: Curious about this....
[quote="MsSunshine"]There is no chair by the desk area. So, I'm kind of standing there unsure of where to go. I don't know if I should stand because it's short or go to the table because it will be longer. If I go to the table, is then he has to move to the table or talk to me across the room. If there was a chair by the work area, I'd perch in it.[/quote]
Are the chairs easily movable? In similar situations I've just grabbed a chair from by the table and moved it to by the desk to sit in then moved it back when we're done. Obviously there's a certain amount of familiarity involved there, there are managers I wouldn't do that with because they'd see it as an affront to their dignity for an underling to sit in their presence. Even with the ones I know will be OK I'll generally say something like "Do you mind if I grab a chair?"
If you can’t move your furniture, then I there is not much you can do.
Here is what I have seen in the last week with having my desks against the wall and only have to turn 90 degrees to see someone at my door.
1. I have an extra chair in my office. If they want to sit, they just grab it. The chair is by the door and already facing toward me.
2. It is rare that someone comes into my office and I don’t have something to show them on my computer. They have just walked up or slid the chair over to see my screen. I used to get complaints about not being able to see my screen. All complaints are gone.
3. I am having my whiteboard moved across the room so that anyone who enters can use it. It was behind my desk and it made it easy for me, but not for others to share ideas.
4. My office is 12x10 with book shelves lining one wall. This really limits how you can layout the office.
It felt odd making the change, for about 15 min. Once people started coming in, the benefits became obvious.
Hope this helps.