Alternatives to Traditional Offices

I awoke in the middle of the night last night with a thought- people’s workspaces are designed to keep them chained to their desk.  (work must be subconciously bugging my brain if I wake up with deep thoughts about being chained to a desk…)

Look at your desk.  You’ve got your computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse.  Then you’ve got your cell phone, within arms-length of the computer.  The trash can (and hopefully recycling bin) are also within reach.  If you’ve got a calendar on the wall, it’s probably just a couple inches away.  You almost never have to leave your desk during the day.  And in an environment like that, it’s easy to get lazy, physically AND mentally.  Creativity, innovation, and development can all slow down when there’s no need for you to turn more than a few inches in either direction for a full 8 hours every day.  And forget motivation.  Motivation is draining away.

Why not change the way we work by literally changing the way we work?  I thought I’d experiment with this. 

I put my trash and recycling bins directly behind me across the office.  Now I have to not only turn completely away from the computer to throw something out, I have to either throw it for real (which is just plain fun) or get up and bring it to the can.  Either way, I’m moving more than I was before.  AND I’m allowing myself to stop focusing on my computer for a few seconds, which almost always distracts me into doing something else.  And anything that gets a tech-obsessed person like myself away from the computer is a good thing.

I do resume reviews on top of my bookshelf.  No, I’m not perched up there, but I am standing completely and resting my arms on top of it.  It’s the perfect height to stand and correct resumes, again, getting me out of my chair and moving around.  And, again, it focuses my attention away from the computer and more towards my immediate environment.

I take a few minutes every day to sit in the chairs on the other side of my desk, where my students sit when they come in for advising.  I see how other people see my office.

I took down my lousy, uncreative bulletin board and created an inspiration board in it’s place.  This idea came straight from Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind.  I’ve already chronicled my love for the inspiration board here.

What ways can you see yourself reorganizing your workspace to change your behavior, your motivation, your creativity, and your development?

ps- here is a version of my dream office.  pps- it’s in my home.  Some day!

One thought on “Alternatives to Traditional Offices

  1. Many of us focus on what we don’t want and constantly critique (difference people). First step is to switch to a positive frame: What DO we want? This allows us to begin the creative process of shaping our lives. Describing what we don’t want is little more than complaining. Describe what we do want and we start creating.

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