12 June 2014

Dreaming of Cubicles

My standing desk and stuff.
My office moved a couple weeks ago and I’m taking it in stride. My team lost the relatively open office space that finely fit four, and my boss lost her office. The new digs merge people from my team, training, and desktop support in the same room—separated by 5’9” tall walls. This blending of minds is meant to foster more collaboration and help build a cohesive team. Right.

I was initially jazzed about the prospect but not about the snap-together, Herman Miller walls. But, why stick people together –who are meant to work together—then isolate them with these walls and tiny doorways? I’d prefer to see this dynamic group in this large-ish space with fewer barriers between us.

For the past three days cube walls and co-workers crept into my nightmares. Cold panic gripped me in the wee hours when I had to justify to my grandfather why his house was divided into several small, low-walled cubicles; he did not like my answer.

The other thing that troubles is my personal perception of loss of status. There are new designers and interns (still in school) that enjoy workspaces with stronger aesthetics. I’d like to elaborate, but it feels like I'm being it’s petty to pursue this minor complaint.

While we’re all extremely well-paid, the physical placement of the cube seems to suggest otherwise. It’s almost like we’re viewed as less integral to the mission that we once were. Here’s my small aside:

My department is comprised of 75 folk, many of whom have recently been moved into some form of cubicle farm in order to make room for faculty offices and student resources. In a recent visit to the Marketing department –I noted the layout of their work space. The 12-person team shared a suite of 11 offices, surrounded on two sides by windows, overlooking the campus grounds. The light airiness stood out in stark contrast to my new office—half the space, low ceilings, high modular walls, no collaboration space, light mustard cinder block walls, one measly window that barely sheds light on our backs, and an oppressively low drop ceiling (yes, I said it twice). 

Of course the Marketing department is solely responsible for bringing in the bucks; they need ample space and pleasant surroundings to churn out the million-dollar ideas. And while my department is responsible for millions in savings in recent years, and we support thousands of individuals, and we keep the campus running –we also spend quite a few bucks in the process. I get it; earners get windows.

That’s my rant. Unbelievably, I thought I was fine with the move until the nightmares started.